Parsley is a very easy herb you can grow and harvest, producing leaves that you can use for our dishes. While easy to grow, you have to be very careful as you harvest the leaves to ensure that you don’t damage the parent plant and be able to harvest more parsley in the long run. Unfortunately, some gardeners end up killing the plant during the harvesting session, leaving them with a dead plant that needs replacement.
To prevent that from happening, read on as I show you how to harvest parsley without killing the plant.
How to Harvest Parsley Without Killing the Plant
You can harvest parsley plants about 10-16 weeks after you have sowed the seeds, though you can begin picking leaves once the plant is bushy.
You’ll know it’s ready through its stems. When one stem has more than 3 clusters of leaves, it is mature and can be harvested. Throughout the growing season, you can enjoy a lot of parsley as it continues to grow and can be picked even after you have harvested leaves the first time.
Parsley is very easy to harvest and you can do so in small or large amounts. You just need to make sure you don’t kill the plant in the process so you get the continuous harvest in the long run.
With that said, here are steps and tips to follow to learn how to pick parsley without killing plants:
The steps to follow
If you plan to harvest the entire stem, be sure to harvest the entire parsley branch. You can do this by beginning your clipping from the bottom rather than begin from the upper end. If you start from the top leafy parts of your plant, you end up slowing its growth.
Here are the steps to follow as you harvest the stem:
- Use a pair of sharp and sterilized scissors or garden shears. You may also use a small knife or pick leaves one by one by hand. You can use scissors or garden shears if you want to pick out a larger amount of parsley or use your hands when getting only a few leaves at a time
- Pluck one stem at a time. Be sure that you let the new and inner parts of the parsley’s step mature before harvesting
- Begin cutting from the plant’s outer base for the inner stem to grow further. This is why bushier parsley plants would have a more refined yield
- For those who want to harvest smaller amounts in sprigs, pluck these sprigs out from the plant’s outer area rather than the inside. When you remove leaves from the outer area, it ensures that the leaves aren’t turning brown. Doing this will also help the plant to focus its energy better
Harvest quality parsley
Of course, you will want to make sure that you get the best quality parsley! If you plant your parsley outdoors and it isn’t kept safe and covered from the weather conditions, it may wear off during the winter. This is why it’s important to harvest parsley before the first frost for your plant to grow back by the time spring arrives.
Here are a few tips to follow:
- Parsley is best used fresh, so if you cut small amounts of parsley at a time, use them immediately
- You may store parsley for a few months in the freezer, though defrosted parsley would have a less intense flavor compared to fresh leaves
- For those with extra parsley leaves, you can cover the leftovers using a damp cloth and place it in the refrigerator to use later on
Harvesting parsley seeds
Besides harvesting the parsley leaves for consumption, you can also harvest the parsley seeds for replanting! Here are tips to follow if you want to harvest parsley seeds:
- The plant won’t produce seeds until it reaches two years old
- If you want a higher chance of harvesting seeds, pluck off weak plants that are already two years old and above. This will help ensure that only the healthiest plants will fertilize one another, producing the best seeds to harvest
- When you harvest and stow the seeds away, keep seeds that are ready for harvest early
- Harvest all the seed heads by waiting until every one of them turns dark brown. If ever you harvest them before that, there’s a chance they won’t germinate later on
- Once the seeds are done flowering, you’ll see that they turn a light green color, then tan, and finally, a dark color
- When getting the seeds, cut below the seed heads so you can clip them off. Use your thumb and index finger, pinching a part of the stem under the seed head to cut it off
- Shake off seed heads gently and into a paper bag, which will remove mature seeds with ease. You may also separate the mature seeds by shaking them a bit over a woven patch of plastic sheets. Just avoid shaking the seeds as you trim the stem, as this would have seeds spread all over the area
- Avoid pulling off the seeds too harshly, this may cause its stem to recoil. Instead, you may want to harvest seeds individually using your fingers
Wrapping It Up
Fresh parsley is such a versatile herb you can use in various dishes, adding a wonderful and fresh flavor. This is why it’s best to have a continual supply of it, which you can do so by growing and harvesting parsley plants on your own. It’s easy to do and by following the right tips to harvest your parsley plants well, you’ll never run out of parsley!
I hope that this article helped you become more informed about how to harvest parsley without killing the plant. Whether you began planting or you’re ready to harvest parsley, keep these tips in mind. Happy gardening!