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The versatile parsley (bot. Petroselinum crispum) has a reputation for being quite complicated when it comes to growing and growing. In fact, many hobby gardeners have problems with the popular kitchen herb because it doesn't want to grow, the leaves turn yellow or the characteristic aroma doesn't really want to develop. Read what Peterle - as the herb is also called in southern Germany and Austria - needs for strong and healthy growth. We explain how to plant parsley yourself, whether in bed or in a pot.

Planting parsley - instructions

site selection

The right location is particularly important for success, because the spicy herb does not feel comfortable in every place in the garden. So that the seeds emerge and the plants thrive, you should first carefully select a suitable position before sowing or planting.

Important criteria for a parsley bed are:

  • no full sun location
  • as half-shade as possible
  • nutrient-rich, humic soil that is as shaded as possible over the midday hours
  • loose and well-drained crumb structure
  • slightly damp, but not tending towards waterlogging
  • as clay as possible
  • PH-level neutral

In addition, Peterle must not be grown in the same place every year, as the umbellifer is highly incompatible with itself and with other umbellifers.

Therefore, avoid a mixed and subsequent culture with these plant species:

  • Leaf and root parsley
  • Chervil, lovage, dill
  • anise and coriander
  • carrots and parsnips
  • stalks and celeriac
  • all kinds of fennel

The kitchen herb, on the other hand, thrives very well with tomatoes, onions, chives or radishes. The latter are even recommended as so-called marker seed, i. H. They sow radish seeds along with parsley seeds. The course of the seed rows can be clearly seen from the rapidly emerging radishes.

Before sowing

Once the right location has been found, the soil should now be prepared for sowing. Parsley needs a deep and nutrient-rich subsoil, which is why you should either sow green manure in the autumn before you plan to sow it and dig it in after the first frost, or dig in well-ripened compost in late autumn when you dig it up. Then the garden bed does not have to be raked straight away, it is better to wait until after the winter.
Frost crumbles the coarse chunks created by digging and thus ensures that the soil becomes particularly finely crumbly. Only in March / April do you level the bed, weed any weeds that have emerged in the meantime and collect stones. Then pull the seed rows and sow the seeds. But more on that in the next section.

Optimum time

In principle, you can sow parsley directly in the garden bed from March, weather permitting. This is possible with

  • permanent temperatures from seven degrees Celsius
  • mild air
  • no night frosts
  • no ground frost
  • predominantly sunny, dry weather
  • no continuous rain, no snow, no morning hoarfrost

However, since such conditions rarely last so early in the year, early sowing is only recommended in regions with mild winters. Elsewhere, you should only get the parsley seeds into the ground from mid-April to May.

If you don't want to wait that long, you can use a cold frame for the propagation. The heat is concentrated under the glass, and seeds and young plants are protected from unfavorable weather conditions. Parsley seeds can also be planted in the greenhouse. Either take care of the little plants that grow from it in this protected area all year round or plant them outside from May.

Tip: If it is already warm enough for sowing in April, the seeds can be placed in the garden bed. If night frost is imminent, protect seeds and young plants with garden fleece or foil.

Sow parsley outdoors

After all the preparation and planning, plant the parsley seeds in the bed. It is best to proceed as follows:

  • Draw seed rows.
  • Row spacing between 20 and 30 centimeters
  • Furrow depth one to two centimeters
  • Seed quantity 200 to 300 seeds per meter
  • Mix seeds for marking with suitable radish seeds
  • Then trickle the mixture evenly into the furrows
  • Cover carefully and loosely with soil
  • Moisten the soil with a watering can with an attachment
  • cover with perforated foil or fleece

Now you need patience, because Peterle needs about three to four weeks for germination. In addition, by no means all seeds sprout, since experience has shown that seeds - whether bought or collected by yourself - have a high failure rate.

Tip: You can sow parsley not only in spring, but also in summer and even in autumn. For outdoor cultivation, the latest sowing date should be in June, after which it is best to grow the herb in the cold frame or in the greenhouse. A pot culture is also possible, then simply move the plant pots to a more sheltered place in bad weather.

Subsequent care

In the following weeks it is now important to keep the parsley bed evenly moist. The soil must not dry out, otherwise the seed will not sprout. But be careful: Excessive moisture is also a disadvantage, as this causes the seeds to become moldy. So always take a watering can with an attachment and only moisten the surface. Fertilization, on the other hand, is not yet necessary, this is only done when the young plants are larger and stronger.

Weather protection is also useful, especially in the rain and cold. For this purpose, have fleece or foil ready, with which you can cover the garden bed if necessary (follow the weather report!). As soon as the young plants have emerged and, in addition to the cotyledons that appear first, have developed the first real pair of leaves, it is time to prick out. The gardener simply understands this term to mean plucking out young plants that are too close together so that the others have enough space to grow.

Prick young plants

You can use tweezers for pricking if necessary. Always remove the weaker-looking plants so that the stronger ones have a better chance of growing. Basically, you do not need to pluck parsley too hard, as the plants in the bed can be quite close together. The only thing you should definitely keep is the row spacing.

Tip: If you don't want to throw away the little plants that have been pulled out, you can also plant them in pots and cultivate them on the windowsill. So you always have fresh Peterle at hand and don't have to run into the garden every time.

Cultivation in the pot

For a quicker enjoyment of herbs, you can also prefer parsley from mid-January. After all, due to the long germination period and slow growth, it takes a long time before you can cut this herb for the first time after sowing. So it makes sense to move the harvest time a little earlier.
And this is how growing in a pot works:

  • A flat bowl is best.
  • But pots and other planters also serve their purpose
  • Fill in this potting soil.
  • Herb soil works too.
  • Pull rows of seeds or make shallow depressions in the substrate.
  • The seeds should be placed about one centimeter deep in the substrate.
  • Parsley is a dark germinator.
  • However, a cold stimulus to interrupt the germ inhibition is not necessary.
  • Cover the seeds with substrate.
  • Moisten the substrate.
  • Use a spray bottle for this.

Place the cultivation vessel(s) in a bright, but not directly sunny and warm location. The window sill of an east or west-facing window is ideal, provided there is no heater radiating heat directly under the pots - this would cause the soil to dry out too quickly. Temperatures between 18 and 25 °C are ideal for germination, this is the fastest time. However, you must be patient for a few weeks.

Here, too, prick out the young plants as soon as they have formed the first real pair of leaves. Also, transplant them to nutrient-rich soil and take care of them at slightly cooler temperatures. This serves as initial hardening so that the seedlings can be planted outdoors from April or May. Fertilization is not yet necessary.


Plant in the garden

Between mid-April and mid-May, the pre-grown parsley plants can finally be placed in the bed. However, do not plant them out of the pot when the weather is right, but slowly get used to the new location and the changed conditions. If this acclimatization phase is omitted, the young plants could eventually perish from the planting shock.

Getting potted plants used outdoors:

  • from mid-April, weather permitting
  • as warm as possible and rather dry, optimally overcast sky
  • Place the pot in a sheltered, partially shaded spot
  • initially only for a few hours
  • bring in overnight

Carry out this measure over a period of several days, gradually increasing the time that the young plants are outside.

Finally, put them in the garden bed:

  • Prepare the parsley bed as described for sowing.
  • Dig it spade deep.
  • Fold in well-ripened compost and horn meal.
  • Break up larger clods of earth.
  • Rake the area smooth.
  • Make furrows 20 to 30 centimeters apart.
  • Now plant the young plants along these furrows.
  • The distance can be tight.

You should then water the freshly planted parsley vigorously to encourage it to grow in the garden soil.

Tip: Potted parsley bought in the supermarket is not suitable for planting out in the garden or for a longer culture on the balcony or windowsill. These specimens were grown very quickly in greenhouses under special conditions and do not tolerate natural conditions - they therefore usually die very quickly. It is therefore more promising if you sow parsley yourself or buy young plants from a nursery.

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