The secret of enjoying fresh parsley this winter from Monty Don
Love having fresh parsley for your kitchen? Sow it now for winter harvesting, says Monty Don
Parsley is a fabulously useful herb to grow yourself. It can be used in sauces and salads, soups, stews, salsas and marinades, and in pesto among other dishes. It’s not just a versatile ingredient, either. It’s vitamin packed and rich in antioxidants, providing health benefits.
Gardening expert, author and broadcaster Monty Don is a fan of growing parsley and, for him, creating a constant supply is the ideal. So when Monty alerted us to the fact that in order to harvest parsley throughout winter and in the first part of the spring, we need to sow now, we sat up and took notice.
Take a look at Monty’s top tips on sowing parsley in July below. And if you’re a parsley-growing newbie, check out our expert how to grow parsley guide.
Monty Don’s top tips on sowing parsley in July
Monty Don revealed his advice on sowing parsley in July on his website. We’re sharing his advice, plus some more of our own.
The reason Monty sows parsley in July is because he likes a constant supply of the fresh stuff. If you share this goal, then follow Monty’s lead and make successional sowings.
The parsley seeds you sow in July will provide a harvest through this winter and the first part of next spring, Monty says. In other words, fresh and healthy food in the depths of the year.
You’ll need to wait for the seeds you plant to germinate, Monty explains, then prick out the seedlings into pots or plugs for growing on until they’re sizeable enough to plant out. You can find out how to transplant seedlings in our guide.
A sprinkle of seeds that results in spindly seedlings is what you should avoid, Monty cautions. His advice? Thin them to encourage individual plants to be strong.
Plants should be spaced at least 9 inches (23cm) apart, says Monty. This allows them to become vigorous. They’ll have big roots, he says, and when cut will recover speedily to produce more fresh leaves, giving you ingredients for the table for a longer time.
To have enough parsley to harvest from your kitchen garden ideas through winter, make sure you have plenty of plants. Parsley is slower growing in cold temperatures and with too few plants the temptation can be to take an excess of leaves, which could result in the death of the plant.
And although it can grow even through a bit of snow, you could help your parsley by moving it into a cold frame or the best mini greenhouse.
Depending on the zone in which you live, you might need to dig up some parsley plants and bring them inside during winter. Be aware that parsley has a long taproot, so you should make sure you dig up the entire root and provide plants with a pot deep enough to accommodate it.
Like the idea of growing some other hardy herbs along with parsley? If you want to learn how to create a herb garden, you might like to go for mint and rosemary as well, as both will grow in winter. Bear in mind, however, that like parsley their growth will be reduced in these months. There's lots more growing tips in our guide on how to grow mint.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.
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