Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
About this Herb
Gardeners who want to try their hand at French cooking, grow chervil. Its delicate flavor is used in recipes that range from soups to stews and salads. Some say the fern-like leaves have a flavor similar to parsley combined with fennel.
How to Grow Chervil
Chervil is a hardy annual herb that can grow in partial shade. Plants can grow to 24 inches tall and spread to about 1 foot wide. The plant makes a lovely addition to the garden with its finely cut, lacy leaves and tiny white flowers that bloom on tall flower stalks.
Locate a spot in the vegetable or herb garden that gets partial shade. Prepare the soil with amendments to get a light, fertile soil that will retain moisture and not dry out. Chervil can also be grown in containers or patio pots filled with well-draining potting soil.
Plant chervil seeds in early spring while weather is still cool for a summer crop. Chervil can take a light frost. Plant seeds about ¼ inch deep and 1-2 inches apart. Cover lightly with soil and keep the seeds moist.
Once plants start to grow thin to allow plants to spread out.
Chervil can also be grown from transplants. Be sure to keep the plants watered, especially once weather turns hot. A layer of organic mulch, like straw, can help maintain soil moisture and keep weeds out of the garden.
For a continuous harvest, plant seeds in successive sowings about 2 weeks apart until summer weather is too hot.
Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a high nitrogen fertilizer, like diluted fish emulsion. Don’t let the soil dry out or plants will become stunted.
Once plants have about 10 leaves, start to clip a few leaves at a time. As plants grow, there will be more leaves to harvest. Fresh leaves can be clipped with scissors and used in cooking.
How to use Chervil in the Kitchen
Chervil is one of the fines herbes of French cooking and mixes well with other herbs. Use the fresh leaves in potato salad, to top green salads or as a garnish in place of parsley. To make the most of chervil’s delicate flavor, wait until the end of cooking soups and stews before adding chopped chervil leaves and stems.
Companion Plants for Chervil
Plant chervil with its fines herbes companions:
Materials for Chervil Success
- Soaker hose or other consistent watering method
- High-quality compost or good quality potting soil
- Chervil seeds or transplants
- Organic mulch
- High nitrogen fertilizer
- Liquid fish emulsion