Honestly, there are herbs everywhere, and why can I say this with such confidence, and unless you live where there are no plants, you will have a herb somewhere, because all plants are herbs.
So let’s get back to the point, if you have a store nearby that sells gardening supplies and/or you have access to a computer that has internet access, well, you should have no excuse not to order some herb seeds and anything else you need, unless you have no money. At first, I would suggest herbs that you can use in cooking or at least some form of food preparation, and this will depend entirely on you and your families likes and dislikes. Culinary herbs are not just good for cooking and flavour, but, they are actually very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals and other wonderful constituents beneficial for your health.
A common herb that is used in cooking is parsley (Petroselinum spp.), and there are at least three main varieties, the common or curled leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the Italian or flat parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum), and the German parsley or Hamburg variety (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum). So you can buy the variety you prefer or be adventurous and buy all three. Either way, just hurry up and buy something. Times-a-wasting.
The soil has to be rich, as in rich in humus, such as well composted vegetable matter and animal manure, and suitable natural fertiliser, which is optional, but you may need some later on. Also, it needs to be moist, not soaking just moist to touch and doesn’t become water logged. Most vegetable potting mixes are generally fine, just buy a quantity version, because if you skimp now, it will come back somewhere else. After a year you will need to repot the parsley with fresh potting mix, as the mix will become exhausted, especially if you want it to be highly beneficial.
How to grow your Parsley?
In hotter climates, you can plant all year round, unless very dry or hot, then don’t plant during summer. In temperate climates you can plant from spring to autumn, and in cool to cold climates only plant during spring and summer.
Method 1. Go and buy some seedlings, this is the quickest and easiest method, but the more expensive. So, if your local store has vegetable and herb seedlings, you could go down and buy a punnet or container of seedlings and plant them into a container with the potting/soil mentioned above. You won’t need too many as one decent parsley plant will you give lots of product and four to six plants will give you more than you’ll ever need. But hey, why don’t you trade the excess with a neighbour, and butchers use lots of parsley.
Dig a slightly wider hole than the size of the seedling, gently remove the seedling by turning upside down the punnet, gently hold the stem at the base of the plant and lightly squeeze the underneath plastic from different directions, and then push on the very bottom and then carefully pull it out, tickle the roots and make sure that they are not in a clump at the bottom, slightly spreading the roots and place this new baby into his spot, push in and firm up the potting mix around the plant and then do the next one the same and once you have them all in, give them a good but gentle watering. Here is a tip, do not allow the potting mix to build up around the base or what they call the crown of the plant, it must sit just above the mix. Make sure you place the container in a sunny position, and then give it a good watering once a week. If you have a hot dry region you may need to give them a little watering every couple of days for the first week, just to get them established. Either way, keep the soil slightly moist.
Method 2. Grow the seeds in a container indoors or at least in a protected area out of the sun. Seeds don’t need sunlight to germinate, just the right temperature, and moisture etc. Fill the container almost to the top with potting mix, simply sprinkle a few seeds on top and rake them just into the mix about 5mm or 1/4″ gently water and cover with a clean rag or hessian bag or similar, even plastic works, and if all is well, they should start emerging in about 3-4 weeks, just keep the mix and cloth slightly moist. Once they start coming up, remove the cloth and keep out of direct sunlight until they strengthen. Any sickly or excess ones thin out. Remember you only need a few plants and you need space between them, say 15cm to 30cm. Once they are healthy and growing well move them out into the sunshine.
Method 3. Plant them directly into the ground. But make sure that there are no more frosts around. Make sure the soil is rich and well tilled and soft for at least 10cm or 3″ deep and slightly moist. Make rows or holes about 5mm and sow into these and lightly cover with the soil and gently add water. You could even place a hessian bag or cloth over them to keep the soil moist and prevent it from drying out. Once they start emerging, remove the cloth, and continue care with watering and weeding etc., until established, then once growing well start harvesting your wonderful parsley.
Benefits of Parsley
It is a low calorie food yet is extremely nutrient dense, being high in vitamin A, which is great for eye health, vitamin C and very high in vitamin K, which helps with bone health. It’s great for iron, plus calcium, folate and potassium, and lesser amounts of magnesium and manganese, along with some fibre. It also is very high in powerful antioxidants, such as the flavonoids – myricetin and apigenin and others. Also carotenoids, such as beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein, which help to reduce risk of some diseases, and the vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
Please remember, this blog cannot replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.
Russell a.k.a The Herbarius