Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Chervil; it kind of seems like the poor cousin of the more vibrant Parsley (to which it is related), the dowdier friend of dominant dill and the shy understudy of tremendous tarragon. But then it does tend to compliment the same
sorts of food as parsley, dill and tarragon and to my palate it does kind of taste
like a mixture of all three. All that aside, it does have its own personality and it is easily grown in shade which makes it simply fabulous for the suburban garden.
How I grow it:
I have a happy relationship with Chervil. I do nothing and it rewards me by self seeding and providing a fairly constant crop. Chervil seeds can be sown in Melbourne, or any temperate climate pretty much all year round (June – March provide the best times). My chervil tends to go to seed in late spring – early summer with the resulting seeds germinating in early autumn.
I grow my Chervil in a fairly shady location, under a passionfruit vine and in amongst some strawberries (this is not a good location for strawberries but that is another story), but it does get some winter sun. The hotter chervil gets the more likely it is to bolt so perhaps an even more shaded location would prolong leaf production further into summer. My garden’s micro climate is warm enough for chervil to be perfectly happy through winter however if you do get heavy frosts you may find the leaves go a bit limp.
Everything I read on Chervil says you should sow seed in the place you wish the plant to grow, however I have had no problems at all sowing into seed trays and pricking out the seedlings and potting them up before transplant. Having said that my self seeded plants do tend to be a bit happier than those I have planted out so perhaps the advice is reasonable. Occasionally my Chervil plants get purple leaves which don’t seem to impair the plant in any way, and they taste the same as the green ones. My understanding is that this is the plants response to the cold (a kind of reverse sunburn if you will).
I give the plants a drink of liquid fertliser every month or so.