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Root parsley, the double-decker parsley

Root parsley

Root parsley is a great veggie & herb: both root and leaves are edible!

Parsley root key facts:

Name: Petroselinum crispum var tuberosum
Common: Hamburg or root parsley
Family: Apiaceae
Type: root vegetable, biennial herb (but grown as an annual)

Height: 4 to 20 inches (10 to 50 cm)
Planting distance: every 6 inches (15 cm)
Exposure: full sun, eventually part shade

Soil: loose, humus-rich, well drained  –  Planting: spring  –  Harvest: fall

It’s of course grown for its root, but its leaves taste just like those of common parsley. It doubly deserves a spot in the vegetable patch!

Planting root parsley

To grow properly, root parsley needs a few things going for it: sun (though it can still take part shade), soft soil, lots of organic matter and good drainage. As a result, depending on the type of soil in your garden, a little bit of preliminary work might be required before planting.

Preparing the soil

Hamburg parsley is another name for root parsleyIf your soil is heavy, meaning it contains lots of clay and is compact, you’ll have to make it lighter.

During the fall a whole season before you plant, amend the soil with extra soil mix and sand. After that, whatever the type of soil, enrich it with large doses of compost or ripe manure. Last of all, with a spading fork, loosen up the soil deep down.

In the following spring, work through the surface of the soil again to loosen it up a bit before planting.

Smart tip : if you’ve got a chimney, don’t throw you ashes away! Use them to make your soil a little bit lighter still. They’re also a great source of potassium for your vegetable patch.


Planting root parsley plugs into the groundIn March or April, form furrows and sow your seeds with just a little space between them.

When they’ve sprouted and that seedlings have two or three leaves:

  • thin the ranks
  • only select the most vigorous ones
  • keep a spacing of around 6 inches (or 15 cm) between each.

Growing and caring for Hamburg parsley

Root parsley doesn’t require much care. Simply water regularly but not abundantly in case of extended drought.

Diseases and pests:

Caring for root parsleyA few parasites and pests may try to attack your root parsley:

  • slugs and snails might feed on leaves on your young sprouts;
  • aphids, if they’re too abundant, will weaken the plant;
  • the carrot fly (Chamaepsila rosae) might even reach the roots.

Harvest and keeping

Harvest of root parsley rootsAfter harvesting your root parsley in October-November (or even December), you’ll discover that it keeps very well.

The key to making this happen is to store the roots in dry sand.

  • use a crate that has slats or hole
  • spread burlap along the bottom and sides to trap sand in
  • first layer should be 1 inch (2-3 cm) of sand
  • then, alternate roots and sand
  • store in a dark place, a cellar for instance

Cooking with root parsley

Root parsley cookingThe huge advantage root parsley has over regular parsley is that both leaves and root are edible.

Slice the leaves into slivers to flavor your recipes and meals, especially tossed salads.

The root you would prepare and cook in the same way you would salsify and parsnip.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Dwight Sipler; depositphotos: Yaruniv Photo; Pixabay: Filip Filipović, Lebensmittelfotos, Anna Sulencka, Tibor Janosi Moses
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