Growing Chervil

This page talks about growing chervil and its benefits.

Chervil, also known as French parsley or Gourmet parsley, is an annual relative of parsley and while it isn’t as well known as some other herbs, it’s a very versatile addition to many different dishes.  It grows between 12 and 24 inches tall.  Since it repels aphids, chervil makes a good companion plant for broccoli and lettuce.

Start planting chervil roughly 3 weeks before the last frost.  Chervil grows with a taproot, and therefore doesn’t transplant well.  Begin by selecting its permanent home in your garden.  Choose a place with some light shade.  Chervil does best in rich, sandy soil mixed with compost.  The ideal pH range is 5.5 to 7.0, but it can grow in soil ranging from 5.0 to 8.2 pH.

Sprinkle the seeds on top of soil.  It is important to use fresh seeds, as older seeds are less likely to germinate.  Don’t bury the seeds.  Keep them moist until they sprout.  Chervil should sprout within 10 days of planting.  Once the plants have been established, thin out your crop so that there is at least 10 to 12 inches of space between each plant.

Chervil prefers colder weather.  If it becomes too hot for the plants, they may turn to seed early.  Keep well watered, particularly during the heat of summer.  When watering, try to avoid getting the leaves wet, as wet leaves encourage the growth of fungus

Chervil grows well indoors in indirect sunlight and can be grown in large containers as well as in your herb garden.  Be sure the pot is of adequate size to accommodate the large taproot.  Pots should be at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep.  Trimming off flowers as they grow will keep your plant growing all winter.  As it is an annual, it will eventually die.

If you would like multiple harvests of chervil, you can plant your second crop after the hottest part of summer has passed.  Or, if you prefer a more continuous supply, you can plant new chervil every 2 to 3 weeks.  Plant the last set of chervil up to six weeks before the frost.

You can begin harvesting your chervil as soon as six weeks after planting.  The outside leaves have the best flavor.  If your plants are outside, you’ll want to harvest as much chervil as possible before the frost sets in and the plant dies.  Fresh chervil has the best flavor and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

More on Growing Chervil

To keep chervil longer, dry or store in the freezer.  Dried chervil doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as fresh.  To freeze chervil, separate into small servings in an ice cube tray and freeze with a small amount of water.  Store in airtight containers.

Chervil is great for seasoning eggs, chicken, fish and potato soup.  It can also be added fresh to salads.  Experiment with different combinations and find your favorite way to use chervil.             

Go to Herbs from Growing Chervil

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