Learn how to grow parsnips so you can enjoy fresh harvest anytime you want. Parsnips are root vegetables harvested in the fall and winter seasons. They’re quite similar to carrots except for the color and taste.
Here is a foolproof guide on growing parsnips even a novice can follow!
How To Grow Parsnips | A Step-by-Step Guide
Things You’ll Need:
- Garden Planting Tools (trowel, fork, etc.)
- Organic compost
- Soil Thermometer
- Fresh parsnip seeds
Fresh seeds are the main reason you can grow parsnips successfully and have a wild harvest come fall season.
Before planting the seeds, you have to know what variety of parsnips you’re going to use. Familiarize yourself so you have a better understanding on how to properly plant and care for your crops.
- Hollow Crown
Hollow Crown parsnip variety has white skin and a fine-textured flesh. Its roots grow up to more than 14 inches long, and need deep soil to produce a beautiful and well-shaped harvest.
Another parsnip variety to try is the Student, which is an American heirloom with long roots that can grow up to 30 inches long. It has a nice mild flavor and is considered to be one of the first cultivated parsnip varieties.
- Harris Model
There’s also the Harris Model parsnip which grows up to 15 inches long and has a notable sweet taste. Its skin is white while the flesh is more exquisite than other varieties.
- Cobham Marrow
If you’re looking for parsnip varieties with the sweetest flavor, then the Cobham Marrow parsnip is the one! This cultivar grows up to 8 inches long and can be harvested after 120 days.
After choosing a parsnip cultivar, find a good location with a sunny spot, and well-draining soil to grow your crops, then prepare the garden beds.
Many seed packets recommend sowing the seeds as soon as the soil is workable. But, it’s still best to wait until the soil temperatures warm up to 50-54°F. A soil thermometer is especially helpful to assure that you will be sowing at the right time, which will give you higher germination rates.
Moreover, parsnips do best in a well-drained soil that has been well dug and mixed with organic matters such as compost heap, bone, peat, etc. The soil should be stone-free with a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
Reminder: Do not add manure to the garden site before sowing the seeds to avoid the roots from splitting.
Step 3: Sow the Seeds
Start by loosening the soil to 12 to 15 inches deep and mixing in a layer of organic compost. Sow the seeds to half of an inch deep, 1 to 2 inches apart then lightly cover with soil.
Reminder: Parsnip seed is very light and papery that’s why a windy day isn’t an ideal day to start sowing.
Step 4: Thin the Seedlings
Once the parsnips seedlings are all up, it’s time to thin them 3 to 6 inches apart. Continue doing this every few weeks until each parsnip plant is 6 to 10 inches apart. The larger the spacing is, the larger the parsnip will be.
What is Thinning? Thinning is simply removing excess seedlings to give them the required spacing. This step is very important because the spacing will determine the future size of your root vegetables.
Growing Care Tips
- Keep plants weed-free during the first few weeks then wait until the plants take off the garden. At this point, caring for parsnips is easy and similar to that of growing carrots.
- Keep the soil moistened to let the roots grow healthily. During dry weather conditions, it is important to water the plants thoroughly to encourage the roots to grow deeper.
- Always keep the garden beds free of weeds.
Watch this video by Quickcrop on how to grow parsnips:
Now, this is how to grow parsnips for a bountiful supply during the fall season. Parsnips are delicious winter crops with a mild distinct sweet taste that’s a perfect addition to a roasted root vegetable medley.
With this step-by-step guide, you can grow parsnips in a cinch!
Do you have any tips in growing parsnips you might want to share? Let us know in the comments section below.
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