By Barbara Porsch, Master Gardener
Now is a good time to get a head start on an herb garden at your house. You should be able to find Parsley seeds or maybe transplants at the nurseries or box stores.
Parsley is like a vitamin pill. It is rich in Vitamins A, B, C and is a good source of calcium, niacin, potassium and magnesium. An added bonus is that it deodorizes your breath, especially after eating garlic or onions.
If you get some seeds, now is an excellent time to sprinkle them in your garden or any sunny spot in a flower bed. With the recent rain and hopefully some more soon, all the seeds that fell in my garden have suddenly sprouted. That is an added benefit. Parsley reseeds easily. At least the flat leaf variety reseeds easily. The curly leaf variety is not so prolific. But be sure to plant enough for the caterpillars and butterflies. They love it.
Parsley is a true biennial. It grows leaves the first year, then blooms and reseeds the second year. So you can see that I hardly ever have a time when I cannot go out and pick some for a recipe.
If you have a lot or purchase some at the store, you can put it in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and it will last several days there or in the fridge.
There are many uses for parsley besides decorating a plate. It can be used in almost any type vegetable dish. Chopped and tossed with new potatoes is a traditional Easter dish at my house. Chop and toss with cooked rice. Almost any pesto recipe has parsley in the list of ingredients. A big handful of fresh leaves adds a crisp flavor to a regular old green salad. The stems are more flavorful and can be added to soups, stews and stuffings.
Parsley originated around the Mediterranean. The Green god Hercules made his garland of parsley and made crowns of parsley for his athletic heroes.
So when you get a parsley decoration on your dinner plate at a fancy restaurant. Don’t leave it there. Eat it.
If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 489-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.