How To Grow Hamburg Parsley, P. crispum var. tuberosum, Is Grown for Its Root And Leaves in Germany, Poland, Russia etc. There Are Growing Tips Below. .

The first tip I have about How To Grow Hamburg Parsley is that it will grow very well in the UK. And it’s a winter veg that can be left in the ground until needed that adds variety to our plates when other winter veg are limited.

Parsley NOT Hamburg Parsley
Parsley NOT Hamburg Parsley

Hamburg Parley produces a root similar to parnsips. It’s commonly grown in a range of eastern European countries as well as Germany, Austria and Holland, where its used in soups, stews and even eaten raw like we sometimes eat carrots.

AKA as Dutch rooted parsley, root parsley, parsnip rooted parsley and turnip rooted parsley the one really important thing to note about growing it is the advice that it needs stratification to grow. More on that below.

Other names for Hamburg Parlsey include Heimischer, Rock Selinen, and Rock Parsley. 
Where I used rot stay in Lubeck .. not far from Hamburg .. the variety grown was ‘Hamburgrooted Halflange’. It used as Suppengrün or soup greens in combination with chicken, beef or pork. Another use was as a sauce or soup ingredient. Hamburg parsley sauce was similar to the parsley sauce I ate in England.

The roots have a rough white-beige skin with a white flesh when cut.

How To Sow Hamburg Parlsey

Seeds can be direct sown in the spring but germinate best after a cold period period or when stratified. Sowing early enough to get a cold period after sowing can be challenging where soils are wet and cold unless you can access the beds without damaging the soil.

Hamburg Parsley - Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum
Hamburg Parsley – Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum

So, instead of sowing early, one method is to place the seed in a fridge for a few days to simulate the frost and cold conditions. And if you don’t have a fridge try placing them in a vermin proof tin outside when it’s frosty. I find hanging the tin on a long rope from a branch helps keep rats away from tempting seed. But watch out for intelligent squirrels that will open most things.

Even when stratified seeds can take 3-5 weeks to germinate … so be patient.

Sow in rows about six inches apart and thin to one every six inches once they have established. That means you’ll have a plant every six inches in each direction. Thats quite a dense planting that will suppress the weeds. The seed company I bought my Hamburg parsley seed from recommends sowing in rows 18 inches apart. Three times further apart than I grow them. That’s a lot fewer plants and a lot more space needed. Plus it means a lot more hoeing and weeding. It makes no sense to me to make gardening harder than it needs to be. But everyone must decide for themselves. It is however easier to get a good crop with minimal spacings if you are No Dig!

If you are going to grow this crop on a wide spacing you could think about growing a catch crop between the rows whilst they are germinating and growing! Lettuce, beetroot or spring onions come to mind.

Growing Hamburg Parsley

Like many root crops the root will develop best when there aren’t too many stones in the soil. But that doesn’t mean you need to sieve the soil. The roots will find their way down through most soils. And the odd wonky root isn’t going to hurt unless you are growing for the show bench! We are growing roots, not taking a part in a beauty pageant!

Root crops don’t like long periods of drought. So a reasonably moisture retentive soil makes sense. If it isn’t you’ll possibly need to irrigate the plants at some stage. Adding well rotted compost or manure will aid moisture retention (if well rotted it doesn’t make roots fork!).

If grown in a No Dig bed no fertiliser will be needed. In conventional beds I’d add a slow acting organic fertiliser for best results. The roots want feed over a long period. Not in an instant boost followed by a lack of nutrients.

Harvesting Hamburg Parsley

Hamburg Parsley produces two crops a year. First comes the leaves which can be harvested for use in salads, sauces, stews and casseroles. Take a few leaves at time so as to not stunt the plant. The thinnings are also edible so don’t waste them.

Then comes the root that can be harvested any time after about 90 days from sowing. They can however be left in the ground until late winter and harvested as needed.

The roots are ready when around 6 inches in length. But some roots will get bigger. The halflange variety is stubbier and only grows to around 3 inches long.

It is often said that Hamburg parsley tastes better after a frost. In my book it tastes different, but better or worse, that’s for everyone to judge for themselves.

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