How to grow parsley in the heat of the summer!
Growing parsley is easy-peasy – even indoors in the 40-degree weather of the Gulf! The trick is to grow it indoors during the summer months; and to plant it outdoors in cooler weather. We’ll share both the why and how of growing this Middle Eastern staple herb!
Why should I grow parsley?
Parsley, like mint, is a refreshingly useful garden herb. It’s a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, for the very popular Levantine salad – tabbouleh! In fact, many families would consider parsley as essential to their weekly grocery list as tomatoes and onions! You can also use it to make salsa verde, use it as a garnish, and drink it as a juice (recipe at the end of this article)!
Benefits of growing parsley
Parsley has many health benefits, being rich in iron and Vitamins A and C. The health benefits of parsley for kidneys is that drinking parsley tea has been shown to reduce kidney stones, and it’s also commonly used as a folk medicine in treating urinary tract infections. So how does one grow this wonder herb?
The 7 easy steps to grow parsley
1. Sow in season
Parsley is a cool-season herb, however…
The great news is that parsley can be grown all year-round if it is sown indoors, even when temperatures soar into the 40s and 50s as it does in hot Gulf summers!
If you live in the Levant, you can plant parsley, a Mediterranean native, all year-round, though the summer months will benefit from the use of 30% shade cloth.
If you live in the Gulf, and want to plant parsley outdoors, wait until the winter to do so; plant parsley anytime from November to February.
Depending on where you live, the temperature will either be more hot temperate (like the Levant) or more arid/desert (like the Gulf and the interior of North Africa) and so follow the guidelines above.
Make sure that the soil is well-draining; parsley does not appreciate clayey soil, as we’ve experienced in some of our growing efforts. If you use an all-purpose organic vegetable potting mix that should work fine; if the soil feels heavy, just add more peat moss or coco coir.
Parsley needs full sun (8 hours), but will do fine with 6 hours of sun. Therefore, if you grow indoors, place parsley by a south-facing window that receives plenty of sunshine, otherwise you risk ending up with pale, leggy plants! (And I don’t know anybody that’s a fan of pale-leggy anything!)
4. Seed or Sapling?
Many assume that parsley can be grown from stem. Well, can parsley be grown from stem?
Parsley is not a woody herb like rosemary, sage or mint, and should therefore not be grown by cuttings. Rather, plant them as seeds directly into your soil.
Final spacing between plants: 20cm
- Sow seeds in the ground or in a container. The container should be 20cm wide and 20cm deep. If planting in a container, make sure it is placed by a window that receives full sun.
- Be patient when planting; a parsley seed can take up to 4 weeks to germinate! Soak the seeds for 24 hours prior to planting to speed up germination.
- Because parsley seeds take so long to germinate, you may forget you sowed them in the first place! So, mark your parsley container or bed row to remind you there’s parsley there!
For a list of reputable sources for parsley in Kuwait, the UAE, and in the US, check out our post on the six secrets to a thriving home garden.
6. Service with care
For a continuous supply of parsley side-dress by sprinkling compost lightly around the plant every 4 weeks.
Use insecticidal soap and other homemade or commercial organic sprays if affected by whiteflies, aphids or lepidoptera.
Don’t leave the soil too moist as this will promote fungal diseases.
These are our top tips for harvesting parsley:
- For the first harvest, pick the outer stems when the leaves are a good size.
- At the second harvest, and thereafter, cut parsley to ground-level and the plant will be more productive that way.
Once you’re regularly harvesting parsley, and using it to whip up delicious tabbouleh salads or salsa verde, try consuming parsley in liquid form, with the ‘Parsley Powerhouse Juice’!
🌿🍹 The Parsley Powerhouse Juice
You’ll need a juicer for this simple, fresh antioxidant blast of a juice:
🌟 2 Handfuls of Parsley (with stems)
🌟 2 Green Apples
🌟 2 Cucumbers
🌟 2 Lemons
🌟 1 inch of ginger
This will make 2 lip-smacking servings 😋
And that’s all there is to it. Enjoy growing this easy herb all year round!