GIANT ITALIAN PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum) is a wonderful heirloom plant that I find far superior for the home garden than the curly leaf type and less subject to the whiting out and thrips of other varieties I have tried. The large bushy plants produce a continuous supply of large flat leaves and juicy stems with strong parsley flavor. Here in North Carolina, it grows virtually year round in the protected corner I have given it. I also always have a pot growing under a grow light in my kitchen near my cooking center so I can pluck a leaf or two when I need it at the last minute. Biennial in zones 6-9, but grow as an annual, refreshing the planting every year so you are never without this essential culinary herb. 85-90 days.100 seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Parsley has been widely acknowledged as a digestive aid and breath freshener since the days of herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in the 17th Century. Its emmanogogic properties have been shown to reduce histamine, so it is a valuable aid to allergy sufferers. It has been shown to be an effective diuretic. Scientific study has shown it can be effective in preventing and treating kidney stones. It is also rich in Vitamins C, A and as well as calcium, iron and other vitamins and minerals.
GROWING TIPS: Helpful, but not necessary, is to soak seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water before sowing. Sow seeds outdoors 1/4" deep when there is still a chance of light frost. Can also be started indoors and set out as small plants, although I find this can provoke early bolting. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days. Prefers rich, well-drained soil in a sunny position to partial shade. Parsley also grows nicely year-round in an Aerogarden or other hydroponic system.
TO SAVE SEED: If you are saving seed, do not grow other parsleys as they will cross-pollinate. Harvest seed heads the second year when they produce. Let dry and separate by hand. Or, dig up the roots, cut the foliage back to 2" and store in sawdust, sand or leaves in a 32-40 degree environment. Replant in early spring.