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A Bunnings team member is picking parsley from the pot

Overview

Parsley is a year-round garden staple that is easy to grow: it can thrive in a garden, on small balcony or even a sunny windowsill. Parsley is mild and slightly peppery, with hints of earthiness and freshness. It is also packed with vitamins, minerals and plenty of antioxidants.

We’re sharing tips for growing parsley at home. We’ve also included a mouth-watering recipe for falafel and tabouli salad that is a perfect pairing with parsley.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, ear muffs, gloves and mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Always wear gloves and a mask when handling potting mix, mulch and compost, and store products out of the reach of children and pets.

Steps

1Choosing the variety

Parsley is a versatile and easy-to-grow herb that is a great addition to any kitchen. It thrives in many different climates and there’s a wide variety to choose from. Flat-leaf parsley is ideal for cooking (think pestos and herb roasted potatoes). Curly-leaf parsley is a tasty garnish and adds a more delicate flavour to dishes like potato salad and salad dressings. If you’re after something that packs more of a punch, go for Italian flat-leaf parsley. Whatever type of parsley you choose, you can’t go wrong with this tasty herb.

Holding a parsley plant with roots.

2Parsley growing conditions

Parsley prefers partial to full sunlight, so it's well-suited to most gardens or windowsills. Prepare the soil with organic matter by mixing in some compost or well-rotted manure. Make sure the soil drains well and isn’t wet at the time of planting as excess water can suffocate your plants’ roots and lead to root rot.

A Bunnings team member is adding Richgro all purpose mushroom compost

3Planting parsley

When planting parsley from seed, sow them into the soil by poking holes about 6mm deep with your finger, and spacing them roughly 15-20cm apart. Cover the seeds with soil and give them a gentle spray of water to keep them moist. Be patient as the seedlings develop. Transfer parsley plants outside or into pots for your windowsill when they're sturdy enough, typically after six to eight weeks.

If you're planting parsley seedlings, use a spade to dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball. Gently place the seedling in and cover the hole with soil. Press the earth down carefully to make sure your plant is secure. Right after planting, give your parsley a generous drink of water and feed it with seaweed solution.

Parsley likes consistent watering, so do a finger soil test every few days to check if it needs a drink. To do this, simply insert your finger into the soil; if it feels dry, it's time to water. To keep your parsley happy and warm, lay down a layer of organic mulch like pea straw. This will keep the moisture in and suppress any potential weeds. While parsley doesn't need excessive fertilisation, you can keep it happy with a slow-release fertiliser during growing season for optimal health and flavour.

Garden bed with thriving parsley

4Harvesting parsley

When your parsley reaches a height of 15-20cm, it's ready to harvest. Take a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears to snip off the outer stems near the base of the plant, leaving the inner stems intact to continue growing. This encourages new growth and ensures a continuous supply of fresh parsley throughout the growing season. Be sure to pick only what you need, as parsley is best enjoyed when freshly picked.

Picking fresh parsley leaves from a pot

5Tabouli and Falafel recipe

Crispy hot falafel and a side of tabouli salad is one of our favourite parsley recipes. It’s packed with nutritious ingredients like your homegrown fresh parsley, tomatoes and bulgur, alongside protein-rich falafel.

Mixing a bowl of tabouli salad with a spatula.

Ingredients

Falafel

• 300g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
• 1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 1 bunch / 60g flat-leaf parsley, washed, dried and roughly chopped
• 2 tsp / 10g table salt
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 3 tsp sesame seeds
• canola oil, for deep frying

Tabouli

• 300g curly parsley / about two bunches 
• 50g mint leaves 
• 100g spring onions 
• 3 roma tomatoes, diced 
• 1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and diced 
• 50g burghul 
• 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
• 100g lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons) 
• salt and pepper

Method

1. Starting with the tabouli, give your parsley a good wash and dry. Pick all the leaves off the stem, saving the stems for other use (stock, pesto or herb butter, for example). You can even add them into the falafel mix later.  

2. Using a sharp knife and chopping board, chop the parsley coarsely.  

3. Finely chop the spring onions and tomatoes. Add these to a large mixing bowl, along with your burghul. Let stand for a few minutes until the burghul has absorbed the tomatoes’ juices.  

Tip: If you can’t get your hands on burghul, you can swap this for 50g of cooked couscous.  

4. Remove seeds from the cucumber and dice. Add to the mixing bowl.  

5. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the mixture and combine. For best results, allow the tabouli to sit for 15 minutes to let the flavours develop.   

6. For the falafel, drain your chickpeas from the night before and set aside.  

7. In a large food processor, add your parsley, chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, sesame seeds and salt. Pulse the mixture, periodically scraping down the sides to ensure it gets processed evenly. Continue until your mixture resembles a coarse, green paste.   

8. To prepare for frying, fill a pot halfway with oil. Using a thermometer, heat the oil to 180°C.

9. While the oil is heating, test your falafel mix for the right consistency. To do this, wet your hands and roll some mixture into a ball. Drop this gently onto your cutting board to see if it cracks. If it cracks, your mixture is too dry. Return the mix to the food processor, add a splash of water and pulse again until you get a mixture that holds its shape when dropped and doesn’t crack.  

10. Measure out ¼ cup of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until the mixture is finished, placing each ball onto a tray.   

11. Using a slotted spoon, gently place your falafels into the oil. Cook for five minutes or until deeply golden. Work in batches, placing the fried falafel onto a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.  

12. It’s time to plate up! Serve your tasty hot falafel with your refreshing tabouli salad for a satisfying and healthy lunch made with parsley from your very own garden.   

Falafel balls alongside refreshing tabouli salad, accompanied by lemons and yellow chilies.
Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.