Thursday, 27 October 2011

Hamburg Parsley

Most years I try to grow something new, something I have not tried before. This way I don't get stuck in a rut, growing the same old things year after year. It also gives me the opportunity to try out a few things that are hard to find in the shops. This year I have experimented with Hamburg Parsley. This is a veg that has two uses: you can use the foliage just like conventional Parsley, and you can use the roots like Parsnips.

I sowed a small row of seeds next to, and at the same time as the Parsnips, that's to say in the first week of April. After thinning the plants when they were small I have done nothing to them, apart from water them every so often. Now, six months later, I have pulled up the first ones to see what has been produced. Just like Parsnips, you can see the foliage well enough, but the root is down below ground and you can't get much of an idea about how big it is until you pull the plant up. This is what I got:


The foliage is quite luxuriant. It looks, smells and tastes just like flat-leaf Parsley.


But the roots are very small, and not particularly choice.


They are much smaller than Parsnips. The biggest one is about the size of my index finger.

I think that even if I harvested all of my plants in one go I'd just about have enough for one serving for Jane and myself, so instead I plan to use them as flavouring ingredients rather than vegetables. I'll put these three into the beef casserole I'm planning.

The verdict: I don't think I'll grow this stuff again. The yield is not big enough to represent good VSR (Value for Space Rating). I'll use the space for more Parsnips, which usually do well for me, and stick to the normal type of Parsley.

17 comments:

  1. The root of the large flat leaf parsley is useful in a soup or a stew too. I had expected the Hamburg to have larger roots than that. Live and learn as the saying goes.

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  2. That's interesting; hamburg parsley had caught my eye previously, but your experience makes me wary of sacrificing space for it! Normal parsley for us next year, then (we didn't grow any this year, alas!).

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  3. Actually I am kind of impressed with these but then again I have never had much luck with parsnips either. Maybe this year in the deeper raised bed. ...

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  4. The foliage is really tall.I never tried growing them. Still taste like parsnip?

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  5. I'd be interested to know what the root tastes like. Parsnip or parsley or neither. Maybe they are really strong and you only need a small amount...she says hopefully....

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  6. Liz, Diana; The Hamburg Parsley roots tasted very much like parsnips. They were very sweet, but not especially strong.

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  7. Like Liz & Diana I was wondering what they tasted like too. We try to grow something different too but haven't tried this. Sometimes it's just a different variety.

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  8. This is just the useful information I like to read on blogs. sharing information with details of growing conditions etc. can save a lot of dissapointment. Christina

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  9. We started growing this a couple years ago and have found them to make an excellent root vegetable to force the greens from in mid-winter. We pot them up and bring upstairs a few at a time where they easily sprout new growth.

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  10. Interesting anti feminist rant there in the comments... Frankly I am more interested in your experiment with Hamburg Parlsey, pity it didn't deliver on the roots front.

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  11. A few of us had the same comment Janet - I've deleted mine too! To be honest I didn't read it! Some people have nothing better to do than hijacked our blogs for their own purposes!

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  12. Thanks for doing this report Mark.

    My attempts to max out on (green) parsley this year met with mixed results - some withered and others grew away nicely. They are more sensetive to soil fertility than I realised.

    Turnip rooted chervil next? (Let me know if you can source any seed for that one.)

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  13. I found Atika root parsley from Real Seeds did very well, huge roots which are more dense and flavourful than parsnip, though perhaps not sweeter.

    Loads of tasty parsley leaf which kept coming the more it was harvested. Great looking fresh parsley at mid-November harvest too.

    What variety did you use and where did you get the seeds?

    Thanks

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  14. Hi Tom; My Hamburg Parsley was from Marshalls; it was called "Turnip-rooted" (their product number 2546). Sounds like yours was a lot more successful than mine!

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  15. Thanks for the great info. I thought I was planting parsnip seed, which was impossible to find. Later, looking again at the package, I realized my mistake and had no idea what to expect. I planted mine directly into a flower bed in June and have only until maybe September in my Zone to get results. The foliage is great and I have long thin roots so far. I have no luck with parsnip so even if a get a few edible roots with the Hamburg, I'll be happy!

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  16. I've found that they overwinter better then parsnips, the taste is similar. Mine grow to the size of a medium carrot. They require quite a long growing season, but that can be during autumn when the ground is vacant in the other beds. I grow these as well as parsnips and carrots.

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  17. I am really surprised by some of the disappointing results posters here have found. I first grew Hamburg Parsley in the late '90s and they were wonderful with clean, white roots a good 20cm long and as thick as my wrist. I was so impressed I planned to grow them instead of my usual parsnips but finding the seed became hard as, I guess, their popularity failed to take off. They are available online now so I will grow again. They are worth persevering with.

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