After about a fortnight of Aberdeenshire being the warmest place in the UK, I finally got out and got some seeds into the ground in the annual garden: leeks, parsnips, turnips, broad beans and peas. I resisted the temptation to put some potatoes in as I’m sure things will return to normal soon. The forest garden doesn’t require much sowing of course, but there are a few annual veg that will take a bit of shade and find a useful place in the forest garden. One of these is Hamburg parsley (Petroselenium crispum tuberosum) which, as its name completely fails to suggest, is a root vegetable.
The overall look of Hamburg parsley, and indeed the taste, is very close to parsnip, but the Hamburg parsley will grow happily in the shade of an apple tree and is generally ready to use before parsnip is.
(That said, I’m interested in growing parsnip itself as a self-seeder in the forest garden. I once took over an abandoned veg patch which had become overgrown with willowherb, which isn’t a tree but still makes quite a forest. The parsnip had self sown all over the place and I got a good harvest of large, well-shaped roots. So I’m letting a few of my parsnips run to seed this year to see what happens.)
Last year, I grew on a few Hamburgs for seed and was rewarded with a sack full of the stuff. I took some to the seed swap at the Permaculture Scotland meeting yesterday but still have oodles, so if you live in the UK and would like to give it a try, just leave a comment or drop me an email and I’ll mail you some.