Gardening and Plant Cultivation in Wisconsin: A Comprehensive Guide to Horticulture


Wisconsin horticulture offers a wide range of opportunities for gardening enthusiasts. With its diverse climate, this Midwestern state is home to various plant species that thrive in different conditions. From annuals to evergreen herbs, there are many options to choose from when considering your garden design.

One of the most commonly used herbs in Wisconsin horticulture is marjoram. This aromatic herb is known for its delicate flavor and is often featured in various dishes. Another popular herb is catnip, which is most often used for its foliage. Gardening enthusiasts in Wisconsin also frequently plant lavender, onion, dill, parsley, rosemary, and roman chamomile.

When it comes to planting in containers, Wisconsin horticulture takes a thorough approach. The soil is evenly distributed, and proper spacing is important for the growth of plants. Annuals are often used for their vibrant and long-lasting flowering, giving a beautiful touch to any outdoor space.

If you are considering planting herbs in your garden, Wisconsin horticulture recommends taking some extra steps to ensure successful growth. Transplanting herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, and hyssop is usually better done in the spring or early fall. It is also important to harvest the herbs before the first frost date in order to preserve their flavor.

How to Grow Parsley

Parsley is a versatile and flavorful herb that is a great addition to any garden. Whether you want to grow it in containers or in your vegetable garden, parsley can thrive in many different environments.

1. Choose the right location: Parsley prefers a sunny spot, but it can tolerate some shade. If you live in a hot climate, consider planting it in partial shade to prevent the leaves from getting scorched.

2. Start from seed or seedlings: Parsley can be grown from seed, but it takes a while for the seeds to sprout. If you are in a hurry, it’s best to start with seedlings. You can find parsley seedlings at your local garden center or nursery.

3. Prepare the soil: Parsley prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, mix compost or aged manure into the soil to improve its fertility and drainage.

4. Plant the parsley: Dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the roots of your parsley seedling. Place the seedling in the hole, making sure the crown is level with the soil surface. Gently firm the soil around the seedling to secure it in place.

5. Water regularly: Parsley likes to be kept moist, so make sure to water your plants regularly. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to fungal problems. Water at the base of the plants and avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent disease.

6. Harvest and use: Parsley can be harvested as soon as the leaves are large enough. You can cut the outer leaves as needed, or you can harvest the entire plant. Parsley can be used fresh or dried. To dry parsley, hang it upside down in a cool, dry area. Once dry, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Parsley is a great herb to have on hand in your kitchen. It pairs well with many different dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and more. So why not add parsley to your garden this year?

About Parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a popular herb that is commonly used in cooking for its fresh and vibrant flavor. It is a biennial plant that typically takes 2 years to complete its life cycle. However, it is often grown as an annual.

Parsley plants have bright green, divided leaves that resemble a delicate fern. They can grow up to 9 inches tall and have a spread of 18 inches. The leaves are typically harvested when they are young and tender, as they become tougher and bitter as the plant matures.

There are two main types of parsley: curly leaf parsley and flat leaf parsley. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish due to its attractive appearance, while flat-leaf parsley is known for its stronger flavor and is commonly used in cooking.

Parsley is a hardy herb and can be grown in a variety of soils and light conditions. However, it prefers well-drained soils and partial sunlight. It is important to water parsley regularly and evenly to ensure healthy growth.

When starting parsley from seed, it is best to soak the seeds overnight before planting them. The seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate, so patience is key. Once the seedlings have sprouted, they can be thinned to about 6 inches apart to give them room to grow.

Parsley is relatively pest-free, but it can occasionally be bothered by common garden pests such as aphids and caterpillars. To control these pests, it is best to use natural remedies or organic pest control methods. It is also important to regularly inspect the plants for any signs of disease or infestation.

Parsley can be harvested throughout the growing season, starting when the plants are about 6 inches tall. To harvest parsley, simply cut off the outer leaves, leaving the central ones intact to allow for continued growth. Parsley can also be preserved by drying or freezing it.

In addition to its culinary uses, parsley has a long history of use in herbal medicine. It is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used to support kidney health and aid in digestion.

In conclusion, parsley is a versatile and flavorful herb that can add a fresh and vibrant taste to a variety of dishes. Whether you are growing it in your garden or using it in your cooking, parsley is a valuable addition to any herb collection.

Common Types of Parsley

Parsley is a popular herb commonly found in gardens and used in a variety of dishes. It is a biennial plant, meaning it typically lives for two years, but it is often grown as an annual. There are two main types of parsley: flat leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley) and curly leaf parsley.

Flat leaf parsley is preferred by many chefs for its stronger flavor and slight bitterness. It is often used in Mediterranean cuisine to add a fresh and aromatic taste to dishes. Curly leaf parsley, on the other hand, has a milder flavor and is often used as a garnish. Both types of parsley can be grown in gardens or in containers.

When planting parsley, it is important to choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Parsley prefers well-drained soil and can be started from seeds or transplanted seedlings. It is recommended to soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting to improve germination.

It takes about 70-90 days for parsley to reach maturity from seed, although it can be harvested earlier for its leaves. When harvesting, it is best to pick the outer leaves first and leave the inner leaves to continue growing. This allows the plant to continue producing fresh leaves over a longer period of time.

Parsley can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but it is best to use it fresh for optimal flavor and nutrients. It can also be dried by tying the stems together and hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated area. Once dried, the leaves can be stored in airtight containers for several months.

In addition to its culinary uses, parsley has several health benefits. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. It can help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. It is also known to freshen breath and prevent bad odors.

If you are interested in growing parsley, consider adding other herbs like basil, rosemary, and mint to your garden. These herbs can be grown in partial shade and will complement the flavors of parsley. By planning your herb garden carefully, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of fresh and flavorful herbs throughout the year.

In summary, parsley is a versatile herb that can be grown in gardens or containers. It comes in two main types: flat leaf parsley and curly leaf parsley. Both types can be used for flavoring dishes and as a garnish. Parsley requires a sunny location and well-drained soil to thrive. It takes about 70-90 days to reach maturity from seed and can be harvested over a long period of time. Parsley has numerous health benefits and can be stored fresh or dried for later use. Consider growing other herbs alongside parsley for a diverse and flavorful herb garden.

Tips for Growing Parsley

Parsley is a versatile herb that can be grown in both garden beds and containers. It is a cool-season crop that thrives in March and continues to grow throughout the summer. Whether you are growing parsley from seed or transplanting seedlings, here are some steps to ensure a successful growing experience.

Select a Location: Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-7 hours of sunlight each day. Parsley can also be grown indoors near a south-facing window.

Seed or Seedlings: Decide whether you want to start from seeds or purchase seedlings. Both options are available and can lead to successful parsley growth.

Watering: Parsley plants require consistent watering. Water them deeply once or twice a week, or when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as it can cause root rot.

Spacing: Plant parsley seedlings 10-12 inches apart to allow enough space for proper growth.

Companion Plants: Plant parsley near other herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and dill. These herbs make good companions and can enhance the flavor of each other’s foliage.

Preserve the Flavor: To preserve parsley, you can freeze it. Simply chop the parsley and place it in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with water and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the parsley cubes to a freezer bag and use as needed.

Types of Parsley: There are two main types of parsley – curly parsley and flat-leaf parsley. Curly parsley is often used as a garnish, while flat-leaf parsley has a stronger flavor and is commonly used for cooking.

Flavoring with Parsley: Parsley can be used to add flavor to various dishes such as soups, stews, salads, and sauces. It can also be used to make herbal teas.

Common Problems: Parsley plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, aphids and caterpillars can sometimes be a problem. If you encounter these pests, you can try using organic pest control methods or insecticidal soaps.

University Resources: The University of Wisconsin provides helpful articles on growing and using herbs like parsley. Check out their website for more information and tips.

By following these tips, you can successfully start growing parsley and enjoy its fresh and aromatic flavor in your dishes.

Select and Prepare Your Growing Area

Before you start growing your own plants, it’s important to select and prepare the right growing area. This will greatly impact the success of your gardening endeavors. Here are some steps to help you prepare:

Step Description
1 Select a well-drained area with plenty of sunlight. Most plants prefer at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Good drainage is important to prevent fungal diseases and root rot.
2 Test your soil to determine its pH level and nutrient content. You can do this by purchasing a soil testing kit or by sending a sample to a local agricultural extension office. This will help you understand whether you need to amend your soil with additional nutrients.
3 Clear any existing vegetation and debris from the area. This includes removing weeds, rocks, and large roots. You want to make sure your plants have plenty of space to grow without competition for resources.
4 Prepare the soil by loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. This will help improve drainage and allow plant roots to penetrate the soil more easily. You can also add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enrich the soil and improve its structure.
5 Consider using raised beds or containers for growing plants. This is especially useful if you have limited space or poor soil quality. Raised beds and containers allow for better control over soil composition, drainage, and pests.
6 Choose the right plants for your area. Consider the climate and growing conditions in Wisconsin. Some popular plants for Wisconsin horticulture include parsley, lavender, bergamot, celery, and Roman chamomile. Check with your local horticulturist or reference guides for recommendations.
7 Start seeds indoors or purchase transplants if you want to get a head start on the growing season. This is especially important for plants that have a long maturity period or need a longer growing season to reach their full potential.
8 Follow proper care and maintenance practices for your plants. This includes watering, fertilizing, pruning, and controlling pests and diseases. Each plant has its own specific requirements, so be sure to do your research and ask for advice if needed.
9 Harvest your plants at the right time. Different plants have different harvesting requirements. For example, herbs like parsley and basil are best harvested when the leaves are young and tender, while root vegetables like carrots and radishes should be harvested when they have reached their mature size.

By following these steps and giving your plants the right care, you can be successful in your Wisconsin horticulture endeavors. Remember to be patient and enjoy the process of growing your own food and flowers!


  1. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. (n.d.). Vegetable Gardening in Iowa. Retrieved from
  2. University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. (2021). Vegetable Gardening in Wisconsin. Retrieved from

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.