The main reason people find parsley difficult to grow, I reckon, is because they treat is a herb rather than as a vegetable.
Most herbs need, above all, good drainage and soil which is not too fertile, but parsley is different.
Give it the same sort of spot in the garden that you would use for any other leafy green vegetable.
Ideally you want a rich, deep bit of ground, which has had a generous amount of manure or compost in the past year, with exposure to plenty of summer sun, and which won't easily dry out in hot weather.
Parsley won't tolerate being waterlogged - few vegetables will - but at the same time it must never be allowed to suffer drought at any stage of its life.
Though not essential, a few liquid feeds during the season, using seaweed extract or a homemade fertiliser based on comfrey or nettles, will certainly benefit the crop.
Two sowings, one now and another in July, should enable you to pick fresh parsley for at least nine or 10 months, and in good years, here in the West Country, I've often had parsley 12 months a year.
But you needn't restrict yourself to just two goes - parsley can be sown indoors in any month and outdoors from about early spring to midsummer.
I don't know where the myth comes from that parsley seedlings can't be transplanted, but it's complete nonsense.
Start off with fresh everything - a new bag of peat-free seed compost or multipurpose compost, some water drawn freshly from the kitchen tap, not from the water butt, and a fresh packet of seed.
Old compost can become compacted, saturated or too dry. Old water can introduce damping-off disease to seedlings and parsley seed's germination rate can fall dramatically after a year or two.
Make sure your pots, pot saucers and labels are also scrupulously clean.
Fill a three-inch pot with compost to about an inch below the rim. Water it gently but thoroughly, and let it drain.
Put about six seeds on the surface of the compost in each pot, spaced well apart, and cover them with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite.
Gentle heat, at about 60°F, will speed things up, but is not compulsory.
Keep the compost moist at all times, and put the pot on a windowsill or in a greenhouse where it'll get plenty of light.
As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out, three to each 3.5" pot.
By March they'll be ready to plant out, without further thinning, each clump about 9" apart.
A cloche will help them at this stage, as it will in late autumn, but again this is only ideal, not essential.
Parsley can also be sown directly into shallow drills in finely raked soil in the spring, eventually thinning to about 4" between seedlings. It also grows very satisfactorily in containers, if kept well watered and fed.
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