How To Grow Parsnip: An Entertaining And Educational Guide

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Parsnip

Growing Parsnip

Parsnip is a root vegetable from the Apiaceae family that is similar in flavor to carrots and is often used in stews and other dishes. It has a sweet, nutty taste and can be eaten raw, baked, boiled, mashed, and roasted. It is a great source of fiber and antioxidants, and can be a low-calorie, nutritious alternative to other vegetables.

Cheatsheet: Growing Parsnip

Best time to plant

🌱Plant parsnip seeds in early spring or late fall.

Soil requirements

🏞️Loamy soil with a pH level between 5.8 and 7.5.


💦Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering.


📐Plant seeds 1 inch deep, 2-4 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart.

Germination period

🌱Seeds usually germinate within 14-21 days.

Growing time

🌱Parsnips take 90-120 days from seeding to harvest.


✂️Gently loosen soil before pulling parsnips. Harvest when roots are around 1 inch thick.


🔒Store parsnips in a cool, dark place for up to 2-4 months.

Nutrition facts

🥕Parsnips are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and folate.

Self-sufficiency benefits

💪Growing parsnips at home promotes self-sufficiency and reduces reliance on store-bought produce.

Growing Parsnip: An Entertaining And Educational Guide

Choosing the Right Location

Parsnips love sunny spots with well-drained soil. Avoid shaded areas; they hinder the root development.

My favorite parsnip beds get six hours of direct sunlight daily, ensuring robust growth.

Parsnips thrive best in deep, stone-free soil.

Preparing the Soil

Start by digging deep, around 12-15 inches, to loosen the soil. Parsnips grow long roots and need space.

Incorporate compost but avoid fresh manure; it can cause forked roots.

  • Aim for soil pH around 6.0-6.8.
  • Mix in some sand if your soil is heavy clay to improve drainage.
A little extra preparation goes a long way in growing perfect parsnips.

Planting Parsnip Seeds

Direct sow seeds in early spring, about half an inch deep. Parsnips need a long growing season.

Space seeds about 2 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.

Parsnip seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate, so patience is key.

Caring for Your Parsnips

Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Watering evenly is crucial for root development.

Thin seedlings to about 6 inches apart once they reach a few inches high for better spacing.

  • Mulch around plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Monitor for pests like carrot flies and remove damaged foliage promptly.
Regular care promises a bountiful harvest come late fall or winter.

Harvesting and Storing Parsnips

Parsnips sweeten after a few frosts. I usually harvest after the first hard frost for the best flavor.

Gently dig around the root to lift them out. Parsnips can be stored in a cool place for several months.

Proper harvesting techniques ensure you don't break the fragile roots.

Common Issues and Solutions

If your parsnips have forked roots, it could be due to stony soil or fresh manure. Stick to aged compost.

Yellowing leaves might indicate a nitrogen deficiency. Address this with balanced fertilizer.

  • Avoid over-watering to prevent root rot.
  • Keep an eye out for aphids and other pests early on.
Timely intervention can save your crop from major setbacks.

Final Thoughts

Growing parsnips is both rewarding and straightforward. A bit of attention pays off with delightfully sweet roots come harvest time.

So get planting, and may your parsnips be as sweet and bountiful as mine!


1. When is the best time to sow Parsnip seeds?

Sow Parsnip seeds directly outdoors in early spring or late summer.

2. How deep should I sow Parsnip seeds?

Sow Parsnip seeds approximately 1/2 inch deep.

3. How far apart should I space Parsnip seeds?

Space Parsnip seeds 2 inches apart in rows.

4. How long does it take for Parsnip seeds to germinate?

Parsnip seeds may take up to 3 weeks to germinate.

5. What if my soil is heavy or rocky?

If soil is heavy or rocky, consider growing Parsnips in raised beds or containers.

6. How often should I water Parsnips?

Water Parsnips regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist.

7. How do I thin Parsnip seedlings?

Thin Parsnip seedlings to 3-6 inches apart once they are 2 inches tall.

8. Are there any common pests or diseases that affect Parsnip plants?

Common pests affecting Parsnips are carrot fly, aphids, and slugs. Diseases include root rots and powdery mildew.

9. When are Parsnips ready for harvest?

Parsnips are ready for harvest after frost, typically in late autumn or early winter.

10. How do I store harvested Parsnips?

Store harvested Parsnips in a cool, dark and humid place like a cellar or refrigerator.

Parsnips are a versatile and tasty root vegetable that can be cooked in many different ways and are highly nutritious. High in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins C and K, parsnips are an excellent source of essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Parsnips can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, mashed, or roasted and make a delicious addition to soups, stews, and casseroles. Growing your own parsnips is easy and a great way to get more fresh and flavorful vegetables into your diet.

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