Presentation of parsley
Parsley is a herbaceous plant mainly cultivated for the use of its leaves in cooking. Originally from around the Mediterranean, it is now widely produced all over the planet.
Parsley is a biennial plant, meaning it has a two-year lifespan outdoors. During the first year, it produces leaves in abundance. The second, it focuses on the formation of flowers for reproduction.
To enjoy it all year round, it is possible to grow it indoors under horticultural lighting. In addition, parsley lends itself well to hydroponics and is easy to care for compared to other plants.
How to grow parsley hydroponically?
To introduce you to growing parsley in hydroponics, we have chosen to germinate parsley seeds in rock wool cubes. We then selected the best plant. Know that unlike basil, parsley can take about 15 days to germinate. So if the seeds don’t come out within a week, don’t worry.
Then, when the cotyledons appeared, we placed the young parsley plant in a DWC hydroponic system, under horticultural lighting. This type of hydro systems generally offer spectacular performance. To learn more, read ” What is the DWC system?” “.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started growing parsley hydroponically:
- hydroponic system
- horticultural lighting (for indoor cultivation)
- hydroponic fertilizers
- pH up or pH down
- pH meter
- Conductivity meter (EC-meter)
Preparing the nutrient solution for parsley
To start, it is necessary to prepare the nutrient solution, it is important to know that for any young seedling, it is not necessary to use too high a level of fertilizer in the first weeks.
- Start by adding your fertilizers to get an EC of around 0.8.
- Then adjust your pH to reach a value between 5.5 and 6. This nutrient solution is sufficient for the first 20 days of cultivation.
- It will then be necessary to gradually increase the level of fertilizer to obtain an EC of approximately 1.8 while maintaining a similar pH level.
Transplanting parsley seedlings in hydroponics
As said above, once the seeds have germinated and the cotyledons appear, it’s a good time to install your parsley plant in a hydroponic system.
- If you have a hydroponic system that does not use a substrate, such as the Kratky method, you must install your young seedling in a hydroponic basket with a few clay balls to stabilize everything and then transplant into the hydroponic system.
- On the other hand, if the chosen system requires the use of a substrate, such as Autopot, it is enough simply to plant your seedling directly in it.
In any case, it is imperative to start each system after the transplant, because these young seedlings sometimes have only one small root which absolutely must not dry out.
For the DWC system, which we recall works without substrate, we first filled our tank with nutrient solution to about 0.5 cm below the hydroponic basket.
Then we installed a bubbler in the culture chamber and connected the air pump. The droplets produced by the bubbler could thus reach the hydroponic basket and perfectly moisten the young roots without drowning them.
Use of horticultural lighting
To grow parsley all year round, the use of horticultural lighting is mandatory. In summer, it will appreciate being placed outside. But the rest of the year, we advise you to grow it under artificial lighting such as horticultural LEDs.
A lighting cycle of 16 hours of day and 8 hours of night makes it possible to reproduce the summer photoperiod (duration of the day in summer). Your parsley can thus develop perfectly even on the coldest days.
How to harvest parsley?
To harvest your parsley without killing it and allow it to continue to grow quickly, it is important to follow a few rules:
- First remove the oldest leaves that have yellowed over time and are not very good for consumption.
- Then remove the outermost leaves from the stem, making sure to cut well at the base of each stem. These are consumable.
- Finally keep those in the center, they are the youngest, they will develop later and ensure more regular and longer harvests.