Hot water helps seeds to sprout
About the only aspect of growing parsley that can cause trouble is starting the seeds. Parsley has a reputation for being difficult to start, and many herb books include an adage about parsley going to the devil seven times before it sprouts. To help them along, I pour hot water over the seeds and let them soak for 24 to 36 hours. The water softens parsley’s tough seed coat to make germination easier. I start my seeds the first week of March, and it takes two or three weeks for them to germinate.
After they’ve soaked, I pour off the water and briefly drain the seeds on a paper towel to make them easier to handle. I fill 1-1/2-in. plastic cell packs with a seed-starting mix and while the seeds are still moist, I spread five to ten of them on the surface of each cell. Because it’s imperative that the soil remain moist, I loosely cover the planted seeds with a clear plastic bag, leaving the end open for air.
When the seeds have sprouted, I remove the plastic and put them under fluorescent lights. After the plants have sent up their first true leaves, I thin each cell to the strongest plant by snipping its cellmates with scissors. Snipping prevents soil and root disturbance that could result if I pulled out the other plants.
For the rest of the instructions, check out Vegetable Gardener blog.
(Post update from a few days later...)
So, I kinda skipped the part of the instructions above about putting the seeds in soil. They're still sitting in the wet paper towel. It's funny how confused I am and how complicated growing parsley is for me. I'm distracted by the mid-March snow that keeps surprising me. I can't seem to get outside to get the potting soil because I have so many questions.
Do I use potting soil or some other type of non-amended soil?
Do I really need a grow light, or can I just stick them in the kitchen window?
If I need a grow light, what bulb do I buy?
I've been asking the Internet, but every answer seems dependent on a list of variables. It's such a simple task I guess I don't want to screw it up by being impatient and doing it wrong.
I finally googled "is it worth starting herbs from seed?" and the internet said "No" and the internet said "definitely!"
I have oodles of seed packets and buckets of stubbornness and determination. This is going to happen.
Indoor Herb Garden for Beginners Forum on Garden Web