Starting Parsley From Seed: Part 1

Hello reader,

Starting plants from seed is a great way to keep costs down during garden season! This post will be one of two posts about starting parsley from seed. Parsley is an herb that can add a wonderful fresh flavor to dishes. It also can be used as a companion plant. This year, we are adding it to our tomato gardens as a companion plant (and for us to eat as well as save for later use!)

Based on what I’ve read and what the back of the seed packet said, it can take up to a month for parsley seeds to germinate. Say what?! Yeah, I don’t want to wait that long either. I’ll fill you in on what I did to speed up that process. There were three different batches: seeds that were soaked and planted in a mix, seeds that were soaked and then placed in paper towel, and seeds that were put in the freezer and then placed in paper towel. I’ll explain the paper towel method in this post.

Part 1: Start parsley seeds in paper towels

Materials needed:

  • Ziploc bags
  • Paper towels
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Pots and potting soil – not needed until after seeds germinate

On 1/23/17, the experiment began. I had two batches of parsley seeds. One batch soaked in warm, but not hot, water 9 hours. The other batch was put in a freezer safe bowl And froze for 1 hour.

I labeled each bag so I knew which batch was which. I also ran two paper towels under warm water and wrung out so that they were no longer dripping, just damp. Then, the seeds were folded in and placed in the bag.


If you have little ones, this is a fun way to start seeds. They can see what happens underground when a seed begins to grow roots before sprouting!

1/28/17 a parsley seed from the frozen batch had a thick root, unbelievably awesome because just the night before there was nothing new. The newly germinated seed was planted in soil that same day. Not long after, a second seed from the frozen batch had thick root. This was just FIVE days after putting the seeds in the paper towels!


2/4 There are about 12 parsley sprouts in my containers (part 2 of planting parsley goes into more detail) and 10 more seeds that have germinated and are starting roots.

Thats a lot of parsley! Plenty for us to eat and for the parsley worms, which grow into swallowtail butterflies. In the end, both paper towel methods worked better than just planting the seed in mix (even soaking it overnight before planting). It seemed that the seeds that were frozen germinated a bit quicker than the batch that was only soaked, but only a few days to a week difference I think.

Hope you enjoyed following along with our experiment on starting parsley from seed! Stay tuned for part 2 (which will be posted tomorrow), and don’t forget each garden is unique. Craft your garden!


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