Get your herb garden started by learning how to grow parsley. Parsley is one of the easier herbs to grow. You can find it in either curly or flat-leaved varieties, though curly parsley is far more common. The curly variety grows to about 14 inches high while flat leaf parsley can grow to be several feet tall. Although parsley is a biennial plant, meaning it grows for two seasons and produces flowers in the second year, it is typically grown as an annual since it will not survive the frost in many areas.
You can grow parsley from seed, but most likely will find it much easier to grow parsley if you start with a seedling or young plant. The seeds take a long time to germinate, in some cases up to 5 weeks. If you decide to grow the plant from seed, file the seed's shell with sandpaper or soak the seed for a day before planting to help it out.
Plant the parsley in a spot that gets a good amount of sun every day. You can grow it in a container in a sunny window in your kitchen or another part of your house. It will also do well in a container outdoors.
If planting from seeds, cover them with 1/8 of an inch of soil. Plant parsley outdoors after the last frost date in your area or indoors 6 weeks before the last frost. Space the seeds a few inches apart and thin them out when the seedling are about 2 inches high. Each plant should be about 10 inches apart from the others when full grown.
Water the parsley enough to keep the soil moist. It won't be very happy if you let the soil dry out between waterings. If you're growing it in a container, make sure there are enough holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. The roots will rot if the parsley sits in water.
It will need some fertilizer, as well. Choose a fertilizer with a good amount of phosphorus. Fertilize at least once during the season and every six weeks or so if growing in a container.
Harvest the leaves of the plant and use in cooking or as a garnish. You may dry them if you have an abundance of parsley at the end of the season. To dry parsley, tie into a bundle and hang upside down in a cool, dark space. You can also spread the leaves on a baking sheet and dry in a 200 degree oven for a few minutes.
Depending on how cold the weather gets in winter in your area, parsley may survive a second season. You can continue to harvest leaves from the plant in the second season, but they may be of lesser quality and have a more bitter taste, as the parsley will begin focusing its attention on producing seeds. Let the plant die off after it produces a flower stalk and goes to seed. It will most likely self-seed, so you may see more parsley in the same spot the next growing season.