This spring, I will also plant Parsley Plus (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum) also known as Hamburg Rooted Parsley. Parsley leaves are intense nutrient accumulators and a half cup is a serious overdose of Vitamin K. Not that we eat that much parsley.
Few Americans are familiar with parsley plants that are mainly grown for their roots unless their heritage is eastern or southern European. Europeams use the root in soups and stews. With my love of soups and stews in the winter, this is a natural for me. Grow plenty and it will provide you with nutrient dense parsley greens also.
I never gave much garden space to parsley, I preferred cilantro for my Mexican dishes, and recently bought my local store completely out of cilantro seeds for its chelation abilities. Parsley “Plus” is a much better bargain for garden space than leaf parsley with a delicious and easy to store root.
Plus has an added wildlife benefit in that these are a swallowtail butterfly host plants. Don’t despair for your whole crop… just gently transfer the caterpillars to one or two plants and learn to share. Or plant a couple in your wildflower garden and transfer the caterpillars over there if you don’t enjoy watching them noshing in your vegetable beds. I love watching them so I keep them close. They aren’t shy if you aren’t a bird. If you love butterflies, host plants will bring them in.
Letting a few go to seed attracts Goldfinches. Hmmmmm maybe I should have ordered more. In any event, I will collect seed for an enlarged crop next year and see if I can naturalize these in the Food Forest and anyplace else my Goldfinches fly. Although Goldfinches are not endangered as a whole, there are areas where they are no longer seen. Feel free to let an area of your garden go to seed to feed birds who stick around all winter in your area.
I have been letting my wildflower garden stand without cutting during the winter for my little seed eaters. That keeps birds active close to my windows all winter long and they donate fertilizer in exchange for the seed treats. The fertilizer donations sometimes include seeds as well, and can bring me varieties that I didn’t collect myself. The wildflowers are all collapsing down now and composting for improved soil this spring. A circular economy enriches its soil.
Hamburg Rooted Parsley is a special addition to your garden since it gives both high nutrient greens and a nutritious bulk calorie good for winter. An heirloom seed, it is easy to buy once and have forever.