These Again Shall Rise Shall Live The Coming Year


Description.--Like most biennials, parsley develops only a rosette of

leaves during the first year. These leaves are dark green, long stalked

and divided two or three times into ovate, wedge-shaped segments, and

each division either entire, as in parsnip, or more or less finely cut

or "curled." During the second season the erect, branched, channeled

flower stems rise 2 feet or more high, and at
heir extremities bear

umbels of little greenish flowers. The fruits or "seeds" are light brown

or gray, convex on one side and flat on the other two, the convex side

marked with fine ribs. They retain their germinating power for three

years. An interesting fact, observed by Palladius in 210 A. D., is that

old seed germinates more freely than freshly gathered seed.

Cultivation.--Parsley is so easily grown that no garden, and indeed no

household, need be without it. After once passing the infant stage no

difficulty need be experienced. It will thrive in any ordinary soil and

will do well in a window box with only a moderate amount of light, and

that not even direct sunshine. Gardeners often grow it beneath benches

in greenhouses, where it gets only small amounts of light. No one need

hesitate to plant it.

The seed is very slow in germinating, often requiring four to six weeks

unless soaked before sowing. A full day's soaking in tepid water is none

too long to wake up the germs. The drills may be made in a cold frame

during March or in the open ground during April.

It is essential that parsley be sown very early in order to germinate at

all. If sown late, it may possibly not get enough moisture to sprout,

and if so it will fail completely. When sown in cold frames or beds for

transplanting, the rows may be only 3 or 4 inches apart, though it is

perhaps better, when such distances are chosen, to sow each alternate

row to forcing radishes, which will have been marketed by the time the

parsley seedlings appear. In the open ground the drills should be 12 to

15 inches apart, and the seed planted somewhat deeper and farther apart

than in the presumably better-prepared seedbed or cold frame. One inch

between seeds is none too little.

In field culture and at the distances mentioned six or seven pounds of

seed will be needed for the acre. For cultivation on a smaller scale an

ounce may be found sufficient for 50 to 100 feet of drill. This quantity

should be enough for any ordinary-sized family. In all open ground

culture the radish is the parsley's best friend, because it not only

marks the rows, and thus helps early cultivation, but the radishes

break, loosen and shade the soil and thus aid the parsley plants.

When the first thinning is done during May, the parsley plants may be

allowed to stand 2 inches asunder. When they begin to crowd at this

distance each second plant may be removed and sold. Four to six little

plants make a bunch. The roots are left on. This thinning will not only

aid the remaining plants, but should bring enough revenue to pay the

cost, perhaps even a little more. The first cutting of leaves from

plants of field-sown seed should be ready by midsummer, but as noted

below it is usually best to practice the method that will hasten

maturity and thus catch the best price. A "bunch" is about the amount

that can be grasped between the thumb and the first finger, 10 to 15


It is usual to divide the field into three parts so as to have a

succession of cuttings. About three weeks are required for a new crop of

leaves to grow and mature after the plants have been cut. Larger yields

can be secured by cutting only the fully matured leaves, allowing the

others to remain and develop for later cuttings. Three or four times as

much can be gathered from a given area in this way. All plain leaves of

such plants injure the appearance and reduce the price of the bunches

when offered for sale.

If protected from frost, the plants will yield all winter. They may be

easily transplanted in cold frames. These should be placed in some warm,

sheltered spot and the plants set in them 4 by 6 inches. Mats or

shutters will be needed in only the coldest weather. Half a dozen to a

dozen stalks make the usual bunch and retail for 2 or 3 cents.

In the home garden, parsley may be sown as an edging for flower beds and

borders. For such purpose it is best to sow the seed thickly during late