Discover how and when to harvest parsley so that it can continue to grow and so that its properties, flavor, and aroma are as intense as possible, but we will also tell you how often it can be cut and what care should be provided after harvesting.
Like other aromatic herbs whose consumed part is the leaves, parsley can be harvested at any time of the growing cycle, although it is not indifferent neither the time is chosen, nor how it is done.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, parsley can be harvested at any time, once it begins to develop foliage. However, this is neither practical nor advisable, since it will only hinder the development of the plant and it will need more time to reach a suitable size for harvesting.
If we intend to cut the whole plant -for example, to dehydrate it- we will wait until it reaches about 12″ (30 cm) in height, which will take more or less time depending on whether the crop is grown during the warmer seasons of the year or the colder ones.
In the first case, parsley will need about 3 months to reach that size, while if it is grown when temperatures are more favorable, it will need only 2 months. Learn more about How to Harvest Parsley Without Killing the Plant.
Best Time to Harvest Parsley
On hot days, harvest parsley in the morning, before the heat warms the plant.
On cool days – or if the crop is sheltered from the heat – it can be harvested at any time of the day.
Do not harvest at very low temperatures, as this can cause cold burns on the cuttings and weaken the plant.
How to Harvest Parsley: Types
Parsley can be harvested in two basic ways: cutting the whole plant at once or harvesting a few branches as needed.
In commercial plantations, parsley is cut at ground level, allowing it to sprout again.
On the other hand, it is usual in crops for own consumption, to harvest it as we need it. This is usually always the case unless we want to dry it to store it in jars and use it as a dried product.
Frequency of Cutting Parsley
If we cut the whole plant at ground level, we will have to wait sometime until it regenerates again. Generally, during a growing season, it can be cut completely between 4 and 6 times, depending on the time of the year.
However, if we have it in our garden to take a leaf every time we need it, the cutting is almost daily, depending on how much we use it in the kitchen.
Parsley benefits a lot from being cut or having its leaves removed so that it has to continually regenerate them and remain vigorous.
When the parsley is approaching flowering -we will notice it because it emits flower stalks- we will stop collecting it, especially once it already has flowers and seeds, since the nutrients of the plant will have been mobilized towards these, losing the leaves both their properties and part of its flavor and aroma.
Parsley Post-harvest Care
Whenever we harvest parsley, especially if we cut the plant completely, we should water it more frequently in the days after harvest and, if necessary, add nutrients to the soil from time to time or other organic fertilizers, to prevent the plant from depleting them.
Learn more about How to Grow Parsley.