How to Plant Chervil

Overview

Growing chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) instantly connects the humble home gardener with France's finest chefs. After all, the culinary classic "fines herbes," an aromatic blending of fresh chervil, parsley, chives and tarragon, owes much of its charm to chervil's nuanced flavor. Gourmands often describe the taste of chervil as a mixture of sparkling parsley and haunting myrrh, with a hint of anise. For the herb gardener, chervil won't pose much of a challenge, provided you remember that it tends to bolt if not direct-seeded into the garden or given shade during the hottest months.

Step 1

In early spring, scope out an ideal spot in your herb garden for one or more chervil plants. Anthriscus cerefolium likes well-drained soil and some shade during the summer months. If the site itself lacks shade, plant the chervil next to taller herbs or vegetables.

Step 2

Level the ground with a garden rake. Make sure to remove any dirt clumps, twigs or weeds in the area you plan to grow chervil.

Step 3

Soak the area with a watering can or low-pressure hose. Wait for puddles to drain.

Step 4

Put "drills" in the soil. Adding drills simply refers to the practice of creating a furrow about the depth of a pencil-point. Use a slanted hoe blade or a hand tool for the task. For an orderly row of chervil plants, make a straight drill several yards long. For individual chervil plants or staggered groups of three to five, make short straight rows or small circles wherever you'd like to place your plants.

Step 5

Gently drop the chervil seeds into the drills. Try not to sow chervil seeds in clumps, but don't obsess about spacing. When the chervil seedlings emerge you'll have plenty of time to thin them.

Step 6

Either leave the seeds uncovered or sift a thin layer of topsoil over the furrows. Lightly moisten with a hose or watering can. Leave the area undisturbed while chervil seedlings establish themselves.

Step 7

When seedlings emerge, thin to a spacing of 6 to 9 inches apart.

Tips and Warnings

  • When using chervil in cooked dishes, add the chopped leaves at the end of the cooking process to prevent flavor loss. Resist the urge to bring a fragrant chervil seedling home from the nursery. More than most herbs, chervil tends to bolt more quickly when transplanted. Always opt to plant chervil seeds directly into the ground or container where it will be growing.

Things You'll Need

  • Chervil seeds
  • Rake
  • Hoe or hand tool
  • Hose or watering can
  • Container and potting soil (optional)

References

  • "A Garden Herbal"; Anthony Gardiner; 1995
  • "Herb Gardening in Five Seasons"; Adelma Grenier Simmons; 1964
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Who Can Help

  • Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages
Keywords: growing chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium, sow chevril seeds

About this Author

Ellen Douglas has been a writer for more than 20 years, both as a New England-based newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit publications. She has written on health, education and the arts for both online and print publications.