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Parsley is one of the most popular herbs and an asset to any kitchen. This applies to both smooth and curly types, which differ in leaf shape and taste. It should not be missing in any garden, but can also be cultivated in pots on the windowsill or balcony. However, some tact is required during cultivation so that the seeds can germinate at all. The most important factors are the right location and the soil conditions.
Optimum conditions for sowing
The cultivation of parsley is not always successful, sometimes the seed does not sprout at all or only very irregularly. This can be due to the ground being too cold, too wet or too dry. In addition, snails or harmful fungi in the soil can kill the seed or the young plants. A good location and soil conditions are all the more important.
- Location should be bright but protected from direct sunlight
- preferably choose a semi-shady spot
- prefer evenly moist and deep soils
- Soil should be rich in humus and not too light
- Excess rainwater and irrigation water should be able to run off easily
- Improving acidic soils by liming
- In poor soil, incorporate mature compost or well-seasoned manure
- horn meal and horn shavings are also suitable for soil improvement
- Loosen the soil thoroughly one month before sowing
- If necessary, work in some algae lime or rock flour
Heat accelerates germination
Parsley has a comparatively long germination period of up to 4 weeks. It can easily be overgrown by weeds. Cultivation therefore requires a little patience. If the seed is too old, germination may not occur at all. Germination is about 2 years.
Heat can aid germination. The soil temperature should be at least 8 °C at the time of sowing. Consequently, sowing too early is not advisable, especially outdoors. Warmer temperatures are not only conducive to germination, the herb can also develop better. If necessary, you can prefer the little plants in the house.
Best sowing time
The right time for sowing parsley depends on whether you want to sow outdoors or in pots, for example as a preculture or for permanent cultivation on the windowsill. If the soil is colder than 8 °C when sowing outdoors, the seed will not sprout. It is sometimes recommended to sow parsley from March to mid-June at the latest.
Sowing between August and September should offer better chances for germination. Then it is much warmer, so that the herb can develop faster. Pests or the dreaded parsley disease then hardly play a role. If the winters are rather mild, with a bit of luck you can still harvest parsley in the following year until around May. It can also be sown in autumn in a cold frame. It is safest to grow parsley indoors or in a greenhouse. For a permanent keeping on the windowsill, a year-round sowing is possible.
Seeds needed for sowing can be bought or obtained from existing plants. Parsley grows biennially. However, the formation of flowers and thus also seeds does not occur until the second year. As soon as the plants have withered, the small seeds can be harvested. But how do you sow and how deep do you sow?
In the bed
Before sowing the parsley, soak the seeds in lukewarm water for a few hours to help germinate and shorten the germination time. If you then take them out of the water, it can happen that the slippery seeds stick to your fingers. If you then mix them with some sand, they can be better distributed in the ground.
- Water the soil before sowing
- let it dry a bit and distribute the seeds
- to do this, plant rows of seeds at a distance of 15 - 20 cm
- Scatter the seeds thinly in the rows
- calculate about 50 seeds per running meter
- not every grain germinates, so don't spread too few
- Sow seeds at a depth of 1 to 1.5 cm
When it comes to how deep the seeds have to go into the ground, it should be taken into account that they belong to the dark germs and therefore have to be covered with soil. The soil should be kept moist until germination. If the soil is too dry, germination will be delayed further or it will not occur. As soon as the first leaves appear after the cotyledons, the seedlings are individualized at a distance of 10 cm from each other and 20 cm from other herb or vegetable plants.
Tip: When sowing outdoors, it is advisable to sow a so-called marker seed, consisting of radish seeds, together with the parsley seeds. Since radish seed germinates relatively quickly, the rows are easier to see and the areas can be kept weed-free better.
In the pot
Sowing in pots is usually possible all year round. If the parsley seedlings are to be planted out later in the garden, you can sow them in February. To do this, fill one or more small pots with commercially available potting soil and sow up to 10 seeds per pot. Again, they are covered with soil about 1 cm thick. The substrate surface is well moistened and the whole thing is placed in a warm place. As soon as the seedlings have emerged or are approx. 5 cm high, they can be separated into one plant per pot.
Tip: Care should be taken when separating, both in the bed and in the pot, to avoid damaging the roots or upsetting the young plants.
Observe crop rotation
In order for the parsley seed to actually grow, you should pay attention to the crop rotation. You have to know that parsley is incompatible with itself and all other umbellifers such as carrots, dill, fennel or celery. Consequently, it should be grown at the earliest after 3 - 4 years in the same location or where previously umbellifers were already growing. Lettuce is also a bad plant neighbor.
An annual change of location is ideal. But there are also plant neighbors that can have a positive effect on the parsley and are suitable for a corresponding mixed culture. These include onions, leeks, chives, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and strawberries. Root parsley is suitable for mixed cultures with kale, broccoli, beans and endives.
Sowing using the lunar calendar
Some hobby gardeners also base their sowing and planting times on the current lunar calendar. He specifies the best days for sowing different types of plants, but there is no scientific evidence for this. Among other things, the moon phases with waxing and waning moon, which are named after 12 signs of the zodiac, play an important role.
the zodiac signs according to the lunar calendar, of the rising moon are not well suited for sowing parsley. On the other hand, the time of the descending moon should have a positive effect on sowing. In addition to the zodiac signs, the four elements fire/warmth, water, earth and air/light also have a specific meaning. Warmth should act on the fruit, earth on the root, light on the flower and water on the leaf.
The so-called root and leaf days are particularly interesting for this herb. The root days are favorable for sowing, tending, planting and harvesting root vegetables such as the root parsley, while the leaf days are all about leafy plants, which also include lettuce, spinach, leeks and chard leaf parsley belong.
For this reason should leaf parsley preferably on the following dates
- March: 5th-7th, 14th, 22nd-23rd, 31st
- April: 10-12, 18-19, 28-30
- May: 8-9, 15-16, 26-27
- June: 3rd-4th, 11th-13th, 21st-23rd
- July: 1-2, 9-10, 18-19, 26-28
- August: 5th-6th, 14th-15th, 24th, 31st
- September: 1-3, 13-16, 23-24
In contrast to normal leaf parsley root parsley assigned to the root plants and root days. In 2022, we recommend sowing on the following dates:
- March: 9-11, 18-19, 27-28
- April: 5th-7th, 15th, 22nd-24th