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Grown mainly for its bright green, feathery leaves, chervil is a hardy biennial herb, normally grown as an annual.
The plant looks rather like parsley and its fresh leaves are used in much the same way – it has a delicate, sweet anise flavour with a hint of parsley. A native of southeastern Europe and western Asia, it grows to 30–45 cm tall and bears clusters of white flowers in midsummer. Successional sowing and growing indoors in winter will give you a year-round supply.
Early- and late-sown plants will thrive in full sun, but those grown in summer benefit from partial shade in hot, dry areas. The herb will do well in any soil provided the drainage is good.
How much to grow- The best way to grow chervil is as a short-term crop, making four to six sowings at intervals throughout the year and using only tender young leaves. In this way, you’ll have plenty of leaves if you grow five or six plants at any one time. Chervil will grow well in pots and window boxes.
Sow the seeds 5 mm deep in an open seedbed at any time between spring and late summer. Allow 30 cm between rows if you are sowing more than one row, and thin the seedlings to about 30 cm spacings. Water the plants in dry weather and remove flowering stems as soon as they appear. This will not only encourage the growth of young, tender leaves for a longer period, it will also prevent self-sown seedlings from sprouting like weeds in the surrounding soil. However, if you want to collect seeds for later use, let one of the heads mature and then gather the ripe seeds before they fall.
Herbs for winter- Chervil can be grown outdoors in most districts during winter. Alternatively, plant two or three seeds in a 15 cm pot filled with seed compost. Remove all but the strongest seedling and grow it on the kitchen windowsill for a supply of fresh leaves throughout winter.
Chervil is usually trouble-free.
Harvesting and storing
Cut or pick the leaves six to eight weeks after sowing. The leaves are too tender for drying but can be preserved by freezing.
From: Grow Your Own Fruit & Vegetables The Easy Way
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