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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting into the Parsley Challenge



Parsley is a great herb for sauces and salads.  There are two varieties of parsley that you can grow in your garden.  One is the curly leaf parsley, which is great for garnish. And the other one is the Italian flat leaf parsley, which has a stronger, pungent flavor that makes it great for cooking with sauces as well as other dishes.  The one I have here is the flat-leaf variety.  Growing parsley in containers can be relatively easy, but when you are starting with a cultivar such as this one, it can be really challenging.  Among all the plants in the herb garden, this one had less problems when it comes to leaves.  The other plants already had yellowish to golden specks on them, indicating stress as well as pest problems.  The problem with this one is probably over-watering.  The size of my container here is about 6", although it would have been better if I picked one that is at least 8".  For information on how I transplanted my parsley, visit my general gardening section.   
On the 7th day, this is what it looks like.  I trimmed off the less-healthy leaves one by one to encourage growth. Trimming when growing parsley in containers must be done very close to the ground.  This way, you encourage the plant to produce more shoots and produce more foliage.  The problem with parsley is that it takes quite a while before you are able to harvest them.  It takes about 3 months for your plants to produce enough leaves for harvesting.  Care is done by giving the plants 1/3 to 1/2 cup of water every day to keep the soil moist but not wet.  Once the top-soil feels dry, that is the time you give them water until it drains at the bottom.  Never give them too much water as it is easy to give them too much water when growing parsley in containers. I sprayed them with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon fish and seaweed emulsion mixed with 1 liter of water and side dressed the soil with 1/2 cup of the solution.  The instructions in the container said to mix 1 tablespoon of the emulsion with 4 liters of water.  I think I may have prepared a diluted mixture.  Next time I'll try 2/3 of the emulsion to 1 liter of water.  This is to be done every 2 weeks.






March 31, 2010 I had them moved on our roof deck for they are not getting enough direct sunlight at the veranda.  They are growing quite nicely, but I made a mistake of spraying them with fish emulsion.  Some leaves got burned, so I have to space the spraying every 2 weeks when it comes to my parsley.  Since the sun is high, I gave them water until it flows through the drainage holes.  This is the second time it got that much water as I am growing parsley in containers.



April 5, 2010 I went up to take a look at my herb garden and was surprised to find that flowers are starting to form in my parsley.  From what I know, parsley is a biennial, meaning it should produce flowers by the 2nd year.  I have to pinch them out or my parsley will lose its flavor.  Aside from that, the tips are starting to grow brown, so I have to move it again to another location that has the best of the morning sun, but with an afternoon shade.





































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