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Our giant organic parsley is a biennial plant with vivid green, feather-like leaves that has rich flavor and long edible taproot. Both the leaves and the taproot are perfect for sauces, salads, stews, and especially soups. This popular herb also decreases the need for salt and it is rich in iron, vitamin A and C, and multiple B vitamins. It is also packed with flavonoids and has a long history of being one of the best digestion aids.
Parsley is part of the royal herb family and it is a must-have in every organic garden and kitchen, having a deep symbolic connection with mankind since antiquity. In Classical Greece, it was part of the victory wreaths they made for athletic competitions, and the Romans would include it in bridal sprays to ward off evil spirits. In medieval Europe, it was thought that it could be successfully grown only by pregnant women and witches. It was once thought to be a symbol of death and used as a funeral herb. In contrast, it is used as a springtime symbol of the perpetual renewal of life at the Passover Seder plate.
Parsley serves as an excellent planting companion for veggies and roses. As a member of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, its beautiful lime-green flowers are highly attractive to beneficial insects.
Preparation for planting
Before you start planting parsley, have in mind that when it is dried or frozen, our variety of giant organic parsley holds flavor better than the curly kinds. So, plant extra for that purpose. In our organic garden, we usually grow 6 plants for cooking and 10 to 20 plants for preserving for the winter months.
Parsley grows best when the temperature of the air is between 15 °C - 18 °C (60 °F - 65 °F). Start parsley outdoors in the fall in hot summer regions and let it grow through the winter. Try to pick a morning sun spot in your garden with an afternoon partial shade. You can choose any spot but remember, parsley prefers cool temperatures, and the intensity of the full sun might burn it out.
Parsley grows best with a pH between 5.5 and 6.7 in compost-rich, moist soil. Before or during planting, add organic fertilizer to the soil, if possible, although this is not necessary for parsley to grow well and healthy.
Being a biennial plant that forms a long (edible) taproot choose deep pots for container growing.
Remember to ensure appropriate drainage for your garden soil or planting to avoid soggy soil conditions. Aim at growing this herb in a location where they will receive some shade during the day for summer crops – either on the east or west side of a structure or fence works well.
How to plant
To grow our giant parsley, plant the seeds outdoors in March or April, and again in late summer for early growth the next spring. You can directly sow outdoors in early spring, or after the soil has warmed up, ideally around 21 °C (70 °F). For winter crops, start new seeds in late summer and transplant out to a warm, sunny location by September.
As parsley is slow to germinate and emerge from the soil, often taking up to 6 weeks, soaking the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water will help to hasten the sprouting process.
Sow parsley seed 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) deep, with a row space of 15 cm to 20 cm (6-8 inches) apart.
Seeds starting indoors
Sow parsley indoors 4 to 6 weeks before transplantation into the garden in late winter or early spring. Again, soak seeds 24 hours before planting in warm water. In 5 to 6 weeks, seeds will germinate and crops will mature in 70 to 90 days.
Caring for the plant
Our organic parsley is relatively easy to look after. The most important thing is to keep the soil moderately moist so the plant can keep producing new leaves. Keep in mind that this herb needs a regular supply of water.
To encourage the growth of new foliage, cut off the flower stalk when it appears. You have to do this because the stalk of the flower shoots taller than the leaves, and its leaves are much smaller than the leaves around it.
Parsley will grow all winter if cloche protection is provided. You can always bring a pot indoors during the cold season to sit on a sunny windowsill.
When your organic parsley forms stem with at least three distinct and separate segments, the leaves can be harvested. Try to cut the outside edges of the plant, keeping the inner part of the plant to mature.
Storing your harvest
To preserve freshness as much as possible, store parsley stems upright in water in the refrigerator. From our personal experience, fresh parsley will last longer in the fridge if the stalks are kept in a small container of water.
If you want to keep your parsley during the winter season, freezing retains the flavor better than drying. Nothing can replace the taste and texture of the fresh herb though. You cannot use frozen parsley as a garnish, but it can be used in sauces, soups, and stews.
For any cooking method, first, wash the herb in cool running water, then pat dry or remove excess water with a few whirls in a salad spinner. Do not forget to remove the stems. You can either store them flat in a plastic bag, make as a pesto out of the parsley, row up a log and freeze (that can be easily chopped afterward), or packed dry in a jar.
Parsley likes to be around asparagus, tomatoes, chives, corn, bell peppers, members of the cabbage family, peas, and onions. Plant near asparagus to repel asparagus beetles, and around the base of rose bushes, to enhance their growth and fragrance.
Planting parsley near other vegetable plants will improve their flavor, and its volatile oils will act as a natural pest repellent but keep it away from the lettuce patch and mint. It is also best to grow parsley apart from like family plants including carrots, celery, and parsnips to avoid cross-pollination. Cross-pollination may mutate the plant thus creating different tastes and varieties.
- Planting seasondirect sow April to mid-May
- Number of seeds4-5 seed in each spot
- Depth0.5 cm (1/4 inch) deep
- Days to maturity70-90 days
- Row spacing15-20 cm (6-8 inch) apart
- In-row spacing8 cm (3 inch) apart
- Sunlight6 hours of sun with parts of shade
- Wateringkeep evenly moist; do not overwater
- Harvesting10 to 13 weeks after sprouting the seeds
- PlantOrganic Giant Parsley
- Planted on
- First seedlings date
- First harvest date