Saturday, March 14, 2020
ITALIAN PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum var. neopolitanum)
For the first time, I grew Curly-leaf Parsley last winter and I was smart enough to grow it in partial shade. Although the plant died later in the summer I was much encouraged and went to buy another small Parsley plant this winter. However, when I got to Home Depot, all they had was the flat leafed Italian Parsley so that is what I ended up with. It is the first time I have ever grown it, or used it in cooking, and I must say that I am a fan of it now. The plant even seemed not to bothered by the salt wind events of the season.
Internet sites say that Italian Parsley can be grown in full sun or partial shade but the only way I would attempt to grow it in Hawaii is to make sure it is shaded from the hot afternoon sun. I would also only get it started in the cool months. Parsley is meant to be a biennial or two year plant but I think is best to think of it as an annual here. They do need a rich soil full of compost and high nitrogen.
Italian Parsley is always propagated by seed but it can take a month to get anything growing. An easier way is to buy a small 4" pot plant and transplant it into a bigger container or into the garden. It can even do quite well in a hanging pot so works well in a patio garden. I grow mine in a low container placed under a curry leaf tree. (Aug, 2015) The plant gradually fattens up. Cutting the old big leaves from the bottom encourages new leaf growth in the center and these younger leaves and stems have more flavor.
Sometime people get mixed up between Cilantro and Italian Parsley. Cilantro has a similar looking leaf but it is smaller and more delicate with a stronger fragrance.
Of course Parsley is used a lot as a garnish but if we actually put it in our food we can get the nutritional benefits from it too. I guess I use Italian Parsley the most in tuna and egg sandwiches but it also gets added to salads. The stems are usually added to a "bouquet garni" when making stock and soups.