The care of parsley plants requires a reasonable amount of time and effort. This hardy biennial does not require a lot of water or fertilizer, and it resists pests and disease. Curly parsley and Italian or flat parsley are the best known varieties. While parsley has a long germination period, a small bed produces more than enough greens to complement salads, season soups and garnish entrees. Parsley can easily be grown indoors and in containers.
Sow parsley seeds directly into the garden in early spring after the last frost by broadcasting the seeds by hand or mixing them with sand for spreading in a fertilizer/seed spreader. Water the garden twice daily with a fine spray until the plants are established.
Use raised garden beds to improve drainage, maintain consistent soil temperature and to make it easier to enrich and maintain the soil.
Locate the garden in an area that receives six hours of sunlight daily and is shaded the remainder of the day.
Water established parsley plants at the rate of 1 inch per week when the soil is dry and rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Apply 1/2 inch of water to sandy soils two times each week.
Mulch the parsley garden by applying tree bark, dead leaves or straw to the ground around the plants to prevent freezing and thawing temperature extremes that can undo the plant roots. Mulch inhibits weed growth by limiting sunlight and prevents runoff and erosion by soaking up and holding water.
Fertilize parsley plants by starting with a general purpose fertilizer mixed at half of the strength shown on the package directions. If the foliage on the parsley yellows, curls or sheds, there's too much fertilizer; stop fertilizing to allow the parsley to recover. On the other hand, if the parsley does not respond with green foliage growth, increase the amount of fertilizer from half to three-fourths of the label directions. Wait one month until the next scheduled fertilizing. Soil enriched with sand and compost or peat moss does not need fertilizer.