Parsley is well-known for many good reasons. It’s a pretty garnish, flavorful, and incredibly easy to grow. You may think it’s hard to improve on such a well-rounded herb, but we have a way. Parsley is even prettier, more flavorful, and simpler when grown as parsley microgreens.
Parsley microgreens are regular parsley plants with one major difference: they’re harvested very early on. Instead of waiting for bunches of mature herb leaves, we harvest the cotyledons and sometimes the first true leaves. These herbs have a sweeter, gentler parsley flavor. They’re also smaller and finer in texture, which makes them an artful garnish for many dishes. Parsley microgreens pair well with most Italian and tomato-based dishes, including pesto, soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta.
Parsley microgreens may be smaller than full-grown parsley, but they’re actually more nutritious. Parsley microgreens contain larger quantities of nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Just a pinch of parsley microgreens will upgrade a meal’s nutrition.
Some types of parsley you’ll come across are flat leaf parsley, curly leaf parsley, and Italian parsley. Any of these can be grown as microgreens and should be very similar. Each parsley microgreen sprout will have spring green leaves atop white stems. While the true leaves may be curly, the cotyledons are smooth and ovate.
There is a catch when it comes to parsley microgreens. They’re one of the slowest-growing microgreens out there. Usually, you can grow microgreens in just a week or two. Parsley microgreens take at least 21 days before they’re ready to harvest – and more than half of that is waiting for the seeds to germinate! When compared to growing a full parsley plant though, parsley microgreens are 3 times faster. Plus, they can be grown indoors year round. So why not give it a shot and trade your parsley plant for something smaller?
Parsley Microgreens Quick Info
|Flavor:||Sweet, mild parsley|
|Ideal Harvest:||21+ days|
Growing Parsley Microgreens
It may take a while, but growing parsley microgreens is still an easy business. Plus, once you get the hang of it you can move on to many other types of microgreens!
Before we jump into our growing tips, let’s gather some supplies. Here’s what you’ll need to grow parsley microgreens (and most other microgreens!).
- Seeds: any variety of parsley seeds – flat leaf parsley, Italian parsley, and curly leaf parsley seeds are all great choices
- Growing medium: we recommend Espoma’s seed starting mix or coconut coir
- Light: a T5 grow light is strongly encouraged
- Containers: two shallow growing trays, one solid and one with drainage holes
- Small weight (up to 5 pounds)
- Spray bottle
- Kitchen shears
- Paper towel
- Storage container or bag
We’re especially fond of the microgreens seed that True Leaf Market sells. Our personal favorites right now are:
Some other microgreens can grow hydroponically, like borage microgreens. Parsley micros, however, prefer to root in soil. The growing medium you choose should be fine-grained enough that tiny roots can easily navigate it. This is usually best achieved with seed-starting soil. Another favorite for micro greens is coco coir, which holds moisture well.
Parsley microgreens are grown indoors year-round, so they need a consistent light source. Microgreens also need to be close to and directly under the light in order to grow uniformly. That’s why we always recommend a grow light. It’s an investment for indoor gardening, but a good grow light will help you grow microgreens that are healthy and tasty, crop after crop.
Soaking before sowing can help microgreen seeds germinate faster, which is just what we need for parsley and its longer germination time. Soak your parsley microgreen seeds in lukewarm water for 4-8 hours. Then, immediately move on to planting.
Soaking will have given a jump-start to the parsley seeds’ germination process, but planting is what really makes the magic happen. Start by spreading your choice of coco coir or seed-starting soil in a growing tray. Then, spread the soaked seeds evenly across the soil surface. Lightly tamp down the seeds and give them a good misting of water.
When growing microgreens, we use a cover tray instead of covering the seeds with soil. Place your second, holeless tray directly on top of the seed soil surface. Then, weigh down the tray with a 1-5 pound object (like a rock). This is the start of the “blackout period” when the parsley seeds germinate in the dark.
Your parsley microgreen seeds should be kept in the dark until they’ve completely germinated and sprouted. This could take 1-2 weeks, so you may need to peek in on them occasionally and offer a spritz of water.
After the seeds germinate and sprout, your micro parsley will push up against the weighted cover tray. Together, they’ll lift the tray in search of light. At this time, you can remove the tray and tend to your sprouts.
Your parsley microgreens will be very pale at first since they haven’t had any light. Position your T5 grow light a foot or two directly above the tray. With at least 12 hours of light a day, the parsley microgreens will produce chlorophyll and turn green.
Check the soil daily to make sure it’s moist enough. When you need to water it, use the bottom watering method. This method is popular for growing microgreens because it prevents over-watering and keeps the soil or coconut coir from developing mold.
To bottom water, add some water to the solid tray that used to be a blackout cover. Then, put the growing tray inside it so the growing medium can absorb water through the drainage holes. After 10-15 minutes, remove the bottom tray. Repeat this process as often as needed until your parsley microgreens are ready for harvest time.
As we mentioned earlier, most microgreens are harvested for their fully-developed cotyledons and sometimes the first true leaves. You can harvest parsley microgreens as needed or gather the entire crop at once.
The earliest you can harvest is when the cotyledons completely unfold. With micro parsley though, many gardeners wait for the first true leaves to appear. Not only will you get a larger harvest, but the micro greens will also taste more like mature parsley.
When you’ve determined that the parsley microgreen crop is ready for harvest, cut the stems just above the soil level with a sharp knife or shears. Hold off on washing your harvest until you’re just about to use it.
After being cut, parsley won’t regrow unless you leave some of the lower leaves on each sprout. Even then, the second crop will be weaker and have less flavor than the first. Your best bet is to compost the soil or coconut coir and germinate new seeds.
Your newly harvested, flavorful microgreens will make a great garnish for tomato-based dishes. Sprinkle chopped parsley microgreens over salads, soups, or pastas. Even a small amount will add tons of flavor to a recipe.
Parsley microgreen harvests can be kept fresh the same way you store parsley. Loosely wrap the microgreens crop in a dry paper towel and seal them in a storage bag or container. Stash them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. There, the microgreens should stay fresh and keep their flavor for at least 3-5 days (maybe more if you change out the paper towel).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you grow parsley microgreens?
A: Absolutely! Whether it’s flat leaf parsley, Italian parsley, or curly leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum), you can easily grow a parsley microgreen crop in just under a month.
Q: What seeds should not be used in microgreens?
A: Don’t use seeds for a plant that doesn’t grow edible mature leaves. That includes the nightshade family, which means no tomato, eggplant, or potato microgreens.
Q: Can herbs be grown as microgreens?
Q: Does parsley regrow after cutting?
A: Micro parsley may regrow if you spare a few leaves on the stems. However, the second parsley microgreen crop will likely be weak in flavor and grow unreliably.