How to Grow Parsnips

by on February 3, 2012


Parsnips are white root vegetables that look quite similar to carrots though their flavor is more akin to a sweet celery heart. If you have never tried parsnips, you will be an instant fan, especially if you give the recipe I’ve included below a shot.Like carrots, parsnips will become sweeter if allowed to remain in the ground through the winter.
Temp Range: 45 – 75 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 130 days
Light Needs: min. 4-6 hours of full sun, partial shade per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 10 per person for  average consumption
Average Space Needs: 9 plants / square foot
Water Needs: moist, loose, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 6.0 –6.8

How to Start & Care For Parsnips

Sow parsnips 2-3 weeks before the last frost of the season in your area. If you are following a square foot gardening plan,  plant your seed in 9 equally-spaced 1/2” indentions in your square and cover lightly with soil. You can grow parsnips in containers if you choose, but they need no less than 18” of root space, so take that into consideration before you plant.

Be sure to keep the area free of weeds that might compete for the water and nutrients the parsnips will need to grow well in your urban garden.

Harvesting Parsnips

As mentioned above, it is best to allow parsnips to stay in the ground through cold weather. They can be harvested at any time once they have achieved the desired size. You can leave mature parsnips in the ground through winter and pull them as you use them. They will remain well-preserved and ready for use all winter long.

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