Last revised February 11, 2010
Curly leaf: Deep Green, Forest Green, Moss Curled. For trial: Banquet, Emerald, Perfection.
Flat leaf (stronger flavored): Plain, Plain Italian Dark Green, Deep Green Italian. For trial: Giant Italian.
Hamburg (turnip rooted) type: Hamburg (grown for an enlarged edible root).
Curly Parsley. Photo credit: Alex Stone, Oregon State University
Parsley seed numbers approximately 296,500/lb. Use only size graded, fungicide-treated, high quality seed to maximize germination uniformity. Seed priming can reduce time needed for germination and can improve stand establishment. Consult your seed dealer about the availability of primed seed.
Transplanting is preferred because germination of unprimed seed may take 20-25 days and direct field seeding can set back harvest about two months.
If direct seeding, plant 15 to 20 seeds/foot. Spacing between rows should be 18 inches. Plant the seed 0.25 inch deep and keep moist to prevent crusting until stand is established. Direct seed as early as the soil can be worked.
With transplants, use a plant spacing of 6-8 inches in the row. With direct seeding, a continuous row may be left. Population in the row should be about 12-15 plants per foot.
Select a fertile, well-drained soil which will allow preparation of a smooth seedbed, especially if direct seeding the parsley. A good amount of organic matter is helpful as parsley requires moist soil for optimum growth.
Nitrogen: 80-100 (N) lb/acre divided over several applications.
Phosphorus: 80-120 (P2O5) lb/acre banded next to the seed row if direct seeded.
Potassium: 50-100 (K2O) lb/acre
Sulfur: 15-25 (S) lb/acre
pH: apply lime if below 6.0
Maintain uniform soil moisture for good growth and optimum nutrient availability. Soil type does not affect the amount of total water needed, but does dictate frequency of water application. Lighter soils need more frequent water applications, but less water applied per application.
Parsley yield is approximately 20-60 cwt/acre. Parsley leaves are ready for use about 3 months after seeding. A few leaves at a time may be removed form each plant, or the entire bunch of leaves may be removed for use. Although parsley leaves are used most commonly in the fresh green condition, their characteristic flavor and green color can be retained if the leaves are dehydrated. Therefore, markets for parsley processed in this manner are growing.
STORAGE (Quoted or modified from USDA Ag. Handbook 66 and other sources)
Store parsley at 32oF and 95 to 100% relative humidity. Parsley should keep 2 to 2.5 months at 32oF. High humidity is essential to prevent desiccation. Packaging in perforated polyethylene bags and using top ice are often beneficial. A controlled atmosphere of 10 % oxygen and 11 % carbon dioxide can help retain green color and salability.
Root or Hamburg parsley can be stored like carrots or parsnips. With the top removed, root parsley should keep several months at 32oF.
Cartons or jumbo crates of 5 dozen bunches, 20-25 lb each.