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A hardy biennial plant, the leaves of which are used for garnishing and flavoring purposes. The botanical name of Parsley is Petroselinum crispum. The plant is a native of southern Europe and belongs to the Carrot family, the botanical name of which is Umbelliferae.

In many gardens the cultivation of Parsley receives scant attention; it is sown wherever there happens to be room, the seedlings remain crowded together and, as a result, the leaves are small and the plants run to seed early.

Although Parsley cannot be said to be difficult to cultivate, it is an erratic plant. In some gardens it flourishes despite neglect, while in others failures are frequent despite unusual care.

Preparing the Soil. Parsley prefers earth which has been broken into fine particles; whether it be heavy or light, the addition of leaf mold or other organic matter will be found an advantage. On very light ground it is wise to sow Parsley in partial shade.

When to Sow Seeds. Two sowings are sufficient for the average garden. One sowing is made in April, the other in July. Where the climate is not excessively severe, the later sowing will furnish winter supplies. As one of the most important details in the cultivation of Parsley is to allow the plants plenty of room, it is unwise to sow the seeds thickly. The drills ought to be 1/2 in. or so deep and 12-14 in. apart; at the final thinning the seedlings should be left 6-8 in. apart.

Seeds Germinate Slowly. Parsley seeds usually take a longer time to germinate than those of most other vegetables; they may not appear for 5-6 weeks. If the weather is hot and dry after sowing, the soil should be moistened occasionally, and a light top-dressing of leaf mold, compost or peat moss will be beneficial.

To maintain a supply of fresh leaves in winter, except in quite mild climates, some form of protection is necessary. This can be provided by covering the plants with a frame, or a few roots may be set in pots or flats of soil and placed in a frostproof greenhouse or frame or may even be kept in a sunroom window or on a sunny window sill in a cool room.

There are various strains of Parsley with attractively curled leaves, notably Giant Curled and Imperial Curled.


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