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The two most common types of parsley are curly-leaf and flat-leaf. Curly-leaf parsley (Image 1) has a mild flavor and a crinkly texture that's great in salads. Flat-leaf parsley (Image 2), also called Italian parsley, has flat serrated leaves and a flavor that is preferred by many cooks. Both types are cultivated the same way.
Parsley grows best in loamy soil with good drainage and moderate soil fertility. It does best in a cool and sunny area, although it will tolerate some light shade.
To speed up germination, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting them. Make a shallow trench about 1/2" deep. Plant two to three seeds per inch along the length of row. Lightly cover the seeds with about 1/8" of soil and water well.
Keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds germinate, usually in two to three weeks. Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings are about 1" tall, thin them to 6" to 8" apart. Use scissors to snip the plants off near the soil line. Do not pull the plants as this will disturb the roots of the nearby plants.
Place a light layer of mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and keep down weeds. When the soil seems dry, water the plants well. Parsley is rarely bothered by diseases or pests.
Parsley should be ready to harvest in two months or less after sowing. To harvest, cut off the outer stalks close to the ground using scissors. Avoid plucking the green foliage off the tops and leaving bare stalks. For the best flavor, pick the parsley early in the day when the oils in the leaves are the strongest.
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