The common chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium, syn. Charophyllum sativum) also called garden chervil, needle grass or among others officinal chervil, belongs to the family of Apiaceae. Its leaves are used in cooking. They bring to many preparations their subtly aniseed taste. From a nutritional point of view, it is very interesting, especially for its rich content of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. As for its seeds and flowering tops, they are well known for their therapeutic virtues. Cultivated as an annual plant, common chervil is a perennial herb deserving that we reserve a small place for it in the vegetable garden or on the terrace, or even indoors since it is grown in the ground as well as in pots. Very easy to maintain, it is suitable for all gardeners, even those who have not yet had any experience. Let’s do a check in.
Sow common chervil
Chervil can be sown in the ground at different times of the year, namely:
- Under cover or in pots from November until the beginning of March,
- In a sunny spot in autumn (October/November),
- In the sun from March to the end of June, or in a semi-shaded area of the garden if you live in the south of France.
In the hottest and sunniest regions, growing chervil in the shade is recommended. This prevents the plant from flowering too quickly and then going to seed. You can confidently install it in the immediate vicinity of tomato plants or near peppers, for example, which will provide sufficient shade.
The method for sow garden chervil is the following.
We start drawing a bridge in the vegetable garden after having worked the soil a little in order to rid it of stones and any roots of weeds. It is enriched with well-ripened homemade compost. Then all that remains is to sow the chervil seeds, cover them with a small layer of loose, fine soil, possibly mixed with a little sand or potting soil, and finally water with a fine rain. If one wishes sow several rows of chervilit is necessary to space them from each other by 20-25 cm.
As soon as the seedlings have formed 4 or 5 sheetswe proceed to thethinning in order to keep only one chervil plant every 10 cm. Of course, it is advisable to select the most vigorous young subjects.
If sowing from September, it is better to opt for a planter or pot about 15 cm in diameter, with a pierced bottom covered with a drainage layer (gravel, clay balls, shards of terracotta, etc.). The container is two-thirds filled with a good soil, the last third being reserved for a specific soil for seedlings. It is also possible to opt for 40% potting soil, 30% good garden soil and 30% sand.
If you prefer to buy plants in pots, it is sufficient to dig one planting hole per foot, the volume of which must be three times greater than that of the root ball. It is thought to respect an interval of 10 to 12 cm between two plants and, again, to water moderately.
Common chervil is a plant with a great hardiness can withstand temperatures of the order of -28°C. He likes them humus-rich, moist, well-drained soils and is very tolerant on the pH (Hydrogen potential). A contribution of very mature compost before sowing or planting is important because it is a greedy plant.
It is grown as a condiment, in the garden or in pots. It likes both sun and lightly shaded areas. It grows quickly, quickly reaching a good fifty centimeters in height. Its very cut flat leaves, of a tender green, are extremely aromatic. They exhale a subtle anise scent when crumpled. Chervil is one of the famous fines herbes that we love so much and that delight our taste buds.
Caring for garden chervil
Easy to live with, Chervil is an aromatic plant that is perfect for novice gardeners because it is conciliatory.
From sowing until emergence, care must be taken to keep the soil moist without however soaking it. Thereafter, when the chervil is transplanted in place, one is satisfied with moderate waterings so that the ground remains cool. Vigilance is required if you are going through a period of drought.
It is useful to mulch the base of the chervil to limit the evaporation process in summer.
A little hoe from time to time is welcome because it helps keep the soil loose. We use it to weed.
The flower stalks that appear in the heart of summer must be pinched if leaf production is to be encouraged. Otherwise, pretty white flowers in umbels will bloom then give birth to small fruits which, when ripe, will be black.
It is still interesting to keep a few flowers and then leave them go to seed. This gives the plant the opportunity to reseed itself spontaneously. If you want to promote the natural propagation of chervilit is necessary to keep the soil slightly moist in order to allow seeds to germinate, but also to hoe to regularly eliminate weeds and consequently limit competition.
Pests and diseases
Garden chervil is resistant to both pest and disease attacks. It is therefore a godsend for gardeners who are reluctant to treat the plants in their vegetable patch.
Harvest common chervil
When the sprigs of chervil measure about ten centimeters in height, that is to say about 50 days after sowing, it’s time for the first harvests. Overall, chervil can be harvested between April and October. But the ideal is not to sow all its seeds on the same day. A staggered sowing roughly every 20 days enjoy a continuous harvest. But if you have opted for growing chervil in pots and indoors, you can harvest it almost all year round.
Harvesting, which consists of cut the stems at ground level, is carried out as needed. This allows you to take advantage of the advantages of chervil in any season, and to enhance various sauces, soups, an omelet or even raw vegetables. It also flavors fish, meat, potatoes… In short, common chervil is unavoidable.
If you are not lucky enough to have a garden, you should not hesitate to reserve a special place for it at home alongside other plants capable of magnifying many culinary preparations. Everyone can have fun because a simple shelf near the window is enough to have a mini aromatic garden in the kitchen.
Note that it is highly preferable to do not cook the leaves, but to add the chervil when serving so that it retains all its flavor. Just finely chop the freshly picked leaves. Be careful, they only keep for two days in the refrigerator, in the vegetable drawer. However, if you wish to keep them longer, you can opt either for their freezing as we do with parsley, basil, dill and others, either for their drying. But this last solution is not the most judicious, far from it, because once dry, the chervil leaves are no longer fragrant at all.