What Kind of Soil do I need for Parsley to Grow?

Plain Parsley

When I first started gardening I didn’t know a thing about soil much less different types of soil that certain plants needed.  So I’ll share some things I have learned about herbs and soil.

There is clay soil, medium soil, light soil, sandy soil, wet soil and loam soil.  You can determine what kind of soil you have by getting a quart class jar with a lid.  Put a few tablespoons of soil in the jar and fill it with water.  Put the lid on the jar and shake really hard and then leave the jar alone for a couple days while the contents settle.  After a couple days get a marker and mark the jar at the point of each layer you see.

Here in Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9) we have clay soil.  Which means my jar once settled will have a narrow band of sand and stones covered by a much thicker band of clay.  This is called “clay soil”.  Medium soil will have equal layers of sand and clay.  Light soil will have a thick layer of sand and a narrow band of clay.

In light sandy soil water drains quickly and takes all the nutrients with it.  All Mediterranean herbs will love light sandy soil, such as:

Borage
Chamomile
Coriander
Evening primrose
Fennel
Lavender
Tarragon
Thyme
Wild marjoram
Winter savory

There are herbs that prefer Clay soil, such as:

Bee balm
Comfrey
Mint
Wormwood

Moist loam soil is loved by some herbs, such as:

Angelica
Bee balm
French sorrel
Lady’s mantle
Lemon balm
Meadowsweet
Mint
Parsley
Sweet Cicely

Here is a list of herbs that prefer wet soil:

Angelica
Bee balm
Marsh mellow
Meadowsweet
Valerian
Watercress

Loam soil is rich in nutrients and well drained, therefore the following herbs thrive in it:

Basil
Bay
Caraway
Catnip
Chervil
Chives
Coriander
Dill
Fennel
Lady’s mantle
Lovage
Rosemary
Rue
Sage
Thyme

Plain Parsley

Plain Parsley

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The Master Gardener

Allysum in October 2013

It looks like for now I will only be able to post once a month. October is a busy month for gardeners here in Phoenix, AZ. October is when a lot of gardeners begin planting.

When we started out gardening, we started out based upon our own understanding. This is a bad practice because now we have to back track. I am going to write out some steps that should be considered and planned out before beginning your journey to save you time and money.

Lets take a look at how the Master Gardener started His creation.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Gen 1:3…Let there be light…

I began to wonder what “light” meant. I’m no pastor, teacher or anyone who teaches the Word of God, however, I do read it and want to know what it means.

When I researched and discovered this word “light” it is a verb. I wondered how could I do light because verbs are actions. Then the light bulb went on! Light can be or in my case, meant an idea, thought, brain begins to churn. God gave me an idea to grow a garden that was healthy, nutritious and would heal my body, as long as, I did not use GMOs, herbicides or pesticides in my garden that would be so abundant I could share with others. Ask yourself why you want to garden and make that your goal to achieve.

Now, lets take another look at what the Master Gardener did next.

Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

God began His next step by planning out his water to His garden. There is rainwater and there is ground water. Depending on how large your garden is, it will need to be planned out. The Chlorine in our water, here in Phoenix is terrible on our garden. We researched filters but ran into sustainability issues. Plastic does not break down and fills up the landfills. Most people don’t care but reality is we need to care because our future generations need to be able to dispose of their trash as well. There is only so much earth before you run out of room. So changing out a filter every month to filter out the chlorine vs. changing out a filter every year was carefully considered due to landfill issues. Here in Phoenix our landfills are full and the City of Phoenix transports all our trash to another city. This costs more time and more money. We went with the filter that we could change out on a yearly basis. It was a shower filter that was easily adapted to our outside hose bib with a few more parts. We are currently installing rainwater-harvesting techniques so that we can place the water where we want it through this system. This can also be accomplished with gray water. Gray water is a little more tricky because the products we use need to be organic products that wont hurt the plants. If you consider gray water then you will want to switch to organic soaps, shampoos, laundry soaps and anything else that goes down those drains into your garden.

Let’s take a look at what the Master Gardener did on the third day and see how we can incorporate that information into our plan.

Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry appear: and it was so.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

You will want to determine where you want your garden to be. Determine whether you want it in the ground, in raised beds, square foot method, etc. The best practice here in Phoenix is in the ground. We have a very difficult climate but not impossible to garden and the nutrients in our clay soil are high. We started out in the clay soil but without this information.  Then we went to raised beds, which we current have built over the clay soil.  The clay soil retains more water than a raised bed.  The first few years you will have more work but when the soil is healthy and living again, it will be less work. Till up your garden. This will be the only time you will till up that clay dirt because here on out, it will be just adding compost and planting until the soil is living once again with healthy living beneficial organisms that are needed to grow a healthy productive garden with abundance.

Next month will take a look at what the Master Gardner does next, so until then God Bless you and begin to plan with the information you now have.