Parsley is the world’s most popular herb and if left will self seed returning to the garden year after year once it is established.
I can’t imagine a garden without it, as well as being an ingredient in most dishes it is a very attractive herb.
When growing from seed be patient, as parsley takes a while to germinate. Seed can be ‘scarified’ to hasten the process by pouring boiling water over the seed and leaving it over night and planting directly into the soil the next day.
Parsley requires about 6 hours of sun a day and prefers a humus rich well drained soil.
I grow the Italian parsley which is flat leafed and ideal in cooking (see my parsley relish recipe), you can also grow the Curley leafed variety which has a much stronger flavour.
Parsley is high in vitamin C, iron and is rich in vitamin A. It also contains folate, potassium and calcium. Some of the potent chemicals in parsley include:
- Polyacetylenes, which seem to protect against certain cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke. It may also help to regulate the body’s production of prostaglandin, which is a powerful tumour promoter.
- Coumarins, which help prevent blood clotting, reducing your risk of arterial blockages that can lead to heart attacks.
- Flavonoids, some of which act as anti-oxidants that neutralize dangerous free radicals, others that have been shown to prevent or slow the development of some cancers.
- Monoterpenes, which are thought to have cancer-delaying properties, especially with breast tumours, and to reduce cholesterol.