Parsley seeds can be slow to germinate, which makes this herb a bit of a challenge to grow. By providing the right growing conditions and trying some tips, you can speed up the seed germination and successfully grow parsley in your backyard.
Step 1 – Starting Seeds
Parsley is slow to start, but once established, it is easy to grow and maintain. Parsley seeds will only germinate in warm conditions, at a minimum temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason why most seeds fail to germinate is that they are sown outdoors in the spring, when they are not subjected to a constantly high temperature. It is therefore best to start your parsley seeds indoors in a seed tray. The best time to do this is early spring.
Before sowing the seeds, put them in warm water for about 10 to 12 hours to help the germination process. Fill the seed tray with potting mix and add some mature compost. Mix thoroughly. Sow the seeds about ¼-inch deep. Keep the soil moist at all times till the seeds germinate.
Step 2 – Transplant the Seedlings
The seeds will germinate in about 3 to 4 weeks. Once the seedlings have grown, you can thin the parsley so that they are about 6 inches apart. When the seedlings are over 3 inches, you can transplant them outside. Prepare the planting spot well in advance.
Choose a sunny spot in your backyard. Dig the soil to about 1 foot in depth, and add plenty of mature compost. You can also add in some bonemeal, which will improve the richness of the soil further. Remove the seedlings from the seed tray by gently tugging at the leaves. Watering the soil will make it soft and easy to remove the seedlings. Plant the seedlings at the same level at which they were in the seed tray, or a little deeper. If sowing multiple plants, plant them in rows about 2 feet apart.
You can protect the young seedlings from high heat and bright sunlight by providing a temporary shade for a few weeks. This helps evade transplant shock, which can affect young plants.
Step 3 – Care and Maintenance
Keep your parsley watered and moist at all times. It is beneficial to feed parsley with a liquid fertilizer once or twice a week during the growing period. Regularly prune the parsley plucking the larger leaves to encourage new growth.
Mulch the plant lightly to improve moisture retention, but keep the mulch away from the roots to prevent rotting. Mulching also prevents the growth of weeds, which can deviate the nutrition away from the plant. Use a mulching material like bark dust or leaf mold. This will also prevent the plant from temperature fluctuations and extreme cold in the winter.