Parsnips are cool-weather biennials grown as an annual. Parsnips taste best if brought to harvest in cool weather.
Sow parsnip seed directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. In warm-winter regions, parsnips can be planted in autumn.
Description. Parsnip is a creamy white root that grows from 4 to 9 inches long, similar to a carrot in appearance and tasty like a celery heart. The parsnip is a biennial grown as an annual. A rosette of celery-like leaves grows from the top of the fleshy root.
Parsnips Yield. Plant 10 parsnips per household member.
Sow parsnip seed in soil that has been turned to 12 inches deep.
- Planting Parsnips
- Caring for Parsnips
- Harvesting and Storing Parsnips
- Parsnip Varieties to Grow
- Your comments and tips
- Parsnips in The Patch
- Recommended Varieties
- When to Plant
- Spacing & Depth
- Common Problems
- Questions & Answers
- Parsnips Sowing and Planting Tips
- Parsnip Planting Calendar
- Recommended Parsnip Varieties
- HOW TO GROW PARSNIPS
- TYPES OF PARSNIP
- QUICK CALENDAR FOR GROWING PARSNIPS IN THE AVERAGE UK AREA
- WHERE TO GROW PARSNIPS
- WHEN AND HOW TO SOW PARSNIP SEED
- CARE OF PARSNIPS
- WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST PARSNIPS
Site. Parsnips prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Grow parsnips in soil that has been turned to 12 inches deep where all lumps and rocks have been removed so that roots do not split and fork. Parsnip prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare planting beds two to three months in advance adding well-aged compost. Add manure only if it is aged; manure too fresh will cause root crops to fork.
Parsnips Planting Time. Parsnips require a long, cool growing season where the average temperature is between 45°F and 75°F. Parsnips will tolerate cold and freezing temperatures at both the start and end of their growing time. Sow parsnip seed directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. In warm-winter regions, parsnips can be planted in autumn.
Planting and Spacing Parsnips. Sow parsnip seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in wide rows; thin seedlings to 3 to 4 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin seedlings after they develop two true leaves; cut off thinned seedlings at soil level to avoid disturbing remaining seedlings. Thinning is important; parsnips require adequate space for root development.
Companion plants. Beets, carrots, rutabagas, and root vegetables. Avoid planting with cabbage family crops, tomatoes, and tomatillos.
Container Growing Parsnips. Parsnips can be grown in containers but require at least 18 inches of root space.
Parsnips require moist but not wet soil for uninterrupted root development. As roots approach maturity, reduce watering to avoid cracking.
Caring for Parsnips
Water and Feeding Parsnips. Parsnips require moist but not wet soil for uninterrupted root development. As roots approach maturity, reduce watering to avoid cracking. Prepare planting beds with aged compost. Side dress plants at midseason with aged compost. Add aged-manure to planting beds in advance of planting.
Parsnips Care. Keep planting beds weed-free to avoid competition for light, water, and nutrients. Cultivate shallowly to avoid damaging roots. Where the ground may freeze, add 6 to 10 inches of straw or mulch above plants before the first snow; harvest roots as needed in winter. In warm regions, mulch to regulate soil temperature; roots will grow short if the soil temperature is too high.
Parsnips Pests. Parsnips are generally not bothered by pests. Root maggots may be troublesome; discourage flies from laying eggs near the plants by putting a 3 to 4 inch square of plastic around each plant.
Parsnips Diseases. Parsnips have no serious disease problems.
Dig parsnip roots before the ground freezes and becomes unworkable.
Harvesting and Storing Parsnips
Parsnips Harvest. Parsnips reach maturity 100 to 130 days after sowing. Lift parsnips with a spading fork being careful not to damage roots. Roots can stay in the garden through the winter if the ground does not freeze. Cold temperatures will increase the sweetness of roots. Dig roots before the ground freezes and becomes unworkable. Complete the harvest before the return of warm weather or roots will become pithy.
Storing and Preserving Parsnips. Store parsnips in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in a cold, moist place for 2 to 6 months.
Parsnip Varieties to Grow
Common name. Parsnip
Botanical name. Pastinaca sativa
More tips: How to Harvest and Store Parsnips.
Grow 80 vegetables and herbs: KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE
Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
As a member of the family Apiaciae, the parsnip counts among its close cousins the carrot, parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro, and celery. All of these bear tall umbels of flowers, but like the carrot, parsnip is biennial, and will not bloom or set seed until its second year of growth. Also like the carrot, the parsnip is grown for its substantial taproot, which is always served cooked. Another member of this family, the cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), grows wild across North America, and is considered a noxious weed. In several areas in North America, cultivated parsnips have become weeds, considered the same species, but with some undesirable traits. Wild and cultivated parsnips will cross-pollinate.
Parsnips are native to Eurasia and appear to have been cultivated there since ancient times. Tracking down an exact lineage is difficult due to the fact that both the carrot and parsnip were referred to as pastinaca in Greek and Roman literature. Until 1536, when the potato was first introduced to Europe, parsnip was the preeminent root vegetable, along with the turnip. It’s worth mentioning that the Romans believed, somewhat optimistically, that the lowly parsnip was an aphrodisiac.
Parsnips are relatively versatile in the kitchen. They are tasty roasted, boiled, or chopped for stews and soups. Many cooks like to remove parsnip before serving soup as the starch and flavour remain, without the meaty vegetable itself. All in all, parsnips are more nutritious than carrots, with a richer vitamin and mineral content. They are very high in dietary fibre, and exceptionally high in potassium, with 600mg per 100g serving. Early writers were aware of the remarkably high nutritional value of parsnips. In 1597, English herbalist John Gerard wrote,
The Parsneps nourish more than do the Turneps or the Carrots, and the nourishment is somewhat thicker, but not faultie nor bad…
Typically, Culpeper’s observations were quite specific:
The garden Parsnip nourishes much, and is good and wholesome nourishment, but a little windy, whereby it is thought to procure bodily lust; but it fastens the body much, if much need. It is conducible to the stomach and reins, and provokes urine.
Growing parsnips calls for patience, as the seeds are slow to germinate, and the plants need a great deal of time to mature properly. Because of this, they are sometimes grown alongside two similar root vegetables, salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) to which parsnips are related, and scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica), which is actually a type of Aster, and not related at all. These three plants all have long, narrow, edible taproots, and all take a full season to develop. Despite having to sacrifice precious space in the garden for a whole season, the gardener who grows these vegetables is compensated by their very good keeping quality, both in the ground and the cold cellar.
How to Grow Parsnips:
Difficulty: Easy. Parsnips will do much better in the ground, so are not suited to containers.
Timing: Plant from late March to mid-July in a deeply dug bed. Most sources recommend direct sowing as soon as the ground is workable in the spring. A longer season results in a longer, thicker root.
Sowing: Seeds can take 3 weeks to germinate and will not push through crusted soil. Cover seeds with compost or put floating row cover over planting to shade the soil and conserve moisture. Sow 1cm (½”) deep, 1-2cm (½ -1”) apart.
Soil: Prepare the bed as you would for carrots. For even longer parsnips, you can dig or form holes 60cm (24”) deep by jamming a crowbar or similar tool into the soil and working it back and forth.
Growing: Thin to 8cm (3”) apart once plants are established. Weed carefully and keep watered. Aim to provide a constant, moderate supply of moisture and nutrients for a steady, slow growing period. A pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 works best for parsnips — as well as salsify and scorzonera.
Harvest: Flavour is best after a couple of good frosts. Dig parsnips from October 1st through the winter as needed. Protect from freezing in the soil with thick straw mulch if it is a cold winter. Parsnips keep better in well-drained soil. The average family will be supplied by a 6m (20’) row.
Storage: Store in the ground until use. Parsnips will last 4-6 months if stored in sawdust, leaves, or sand between (32-40F) at around 90% humidity.
Seed info: In optimal conditions at least 60% of seed will germinate. Soil temperature for germination: 10-25°C (50-75°F). Usual seed life: 1 year. Parsnips are peculiar among vegetables in that you should always use fresh seed. Some sources describe germination of parsnip seeds as “difficult.”
Growing for seed: Parsnips are pollinated by insects. If growing for seed, isolate by 500m (¼ mile), and be aware that parsnips will cross-pollinate with wild, weedy types of the same species
Pests & Disease: Carrot rust fly maggots injure the roots of parsnips. Use lightweight row cover to prevent insects from settling and laying eggs. Practice crop rotation.
About Companion Planting with Umbelifers.
Your comments and tips
Post a comment or question Display Newest first | Oldest first, Show comments for Australia | for all countries 16 Sep 19, Lois Wattis (Australia – sub-tropical climate) I’m interested in giving parsnips a try. I’ve read the seed planting guides and also the idea of planting seeds paper towel rolls to encourage a straight root crop. I’ve also got a parsnip top growing in water and cotton wool and google tells me it won’t become a parsnip if I plant it, but it might grow and flower, and I can collect seeds – is this right? Also, do the seeds grow well in a deep pot of good loose compost rich soil or do they HAVE to be planted in a garden bed? I’ve got some garlic planted in a tall pot (just shooting now) and wondering if I can put some parsnips in with it. Thanks for guidance, Lois 17 Sep 19, Anon (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Most root vegetables do not like or need a rich soil. Rich soil produces a lot of leaf. You want the root (parsnip) to grow. Growing anything in pots requires a lot more attention than in the ground. More watering and fertilising. I’m not a believer in mixing up plantings of different vegetables. I plant rows of different crops so as to cultivate easier for weeds and access. 14 Sep 19, Rob Taylor (Australia – temperate climate) I have parsnips growing at Hervey Bay, they are growing well, but they appear to be all top. I have cut the top foliage back. Will this affect the root. best regards Rob 16 Sep 19, Anon (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Probably too much fertiliser especially N. More a crop to grow autumn into winter than in spring. 24 Jan 18, Doug (Australia – tropical climate) Live in Cairns, love parsnips, but none available in supernarkets in Jan. What if I grow them here then put in freezer for a few days after harvest? Will they grow sny time of year in tropics? Thsnks 28 Jan 18, Naomi (Australia – sub-tropical climate) Doug, I’m just up the hill from you and we do get some August frost, some years, so not tropical, but not sub-tropical either, ughh! I’ve had some luck and many failures with parsnips. Planting in cool weather as recommended has not worked for me because the plants are maturing in the heat before monsoon and going to seed instead of plumping roots. This year I am planting in February to try take advantage of maturing in the cooler months. If you give them a go I’d recommend protecting the plot from the lovely monsoon rains while seeds are germinating to avoid rot. 30 Jan 18, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) As you say try planting late summer for them to mature in the cooler winter months. Any cool weather plant needs to be grown like this.. 26 Jan 18, Mike (Australia – sub-tropical climate) By this guide it says you won’t grow parsnips anytime of the year in the tropics. In sub-tropics June to Sept. Some things just don’t grow in the tropics and somethings just don’t grow a certain time of the year. In the tropics you would be trying to grow things in the cooler winter months. 14 Dec 17, Darryl (Australia – cool/mountain climate) What is best time to sow parsnip seed in Canberra / ACT. We would expect some frosts in May / June. I currently have some from last year left to run to seed, but the seed is not ready yet. I was wondering whether I should sow some commercial seed about now (December) as I am concerned the parsnips currently seeding may be a bit late. Is the time of self-seeding a good guide of when to sow? Any tips on collecting parsnip seed and knowing when the seeds are ready?? 20 Dec 17, Mike (Australia – cool/mountain climate) On the first page here select your climate zone then your vegetable and it will give a time to plant. Sept to Nov for cool/mountain areas. Seeds are cheap to buy from internet seed selling companies. Showing 1 – 10 of 53 comments
Parsnips in The Patch
SERIES 30 | Episode 06
March is a fantastic time to plant, whether it be seeds, seedlings, edibles, natives or planting out overgrown pots. The worst of the hot weather is behind us, and the soil is still warm, so Tino gives us some inspiration to get us out in the garden.
It’s a brilliant time to get root crops like turnip, radish, beetroot and carrots into the ground, and it is the absolute last chance to sow parsnip from seed before the weather gets too cool. They can take two to four weeks to germinate, and they need to develop well before the cool weather sets in. Parsnips need a loose, friable soil, but don’t mind it a little nutrient depleted, so they are the perfect follow-up behind hungry crops like potatoes and brassicas.
Before planting the parsnip seed, dig the soil over well to loosen and “fluff up” and then create some furrows – these are where the seeds will be sown, and will act to trap the water and disperse it to where it is needed most – the seedlings!
The parsnip variety that Tino is sowing is “Guernsey” (Pastinaca sativa “Guernsey”), and he recommends obtaining new parsnip seed each season, given the lower germination rates on older seeds. Sow the seeds at 3cm spacings, in furrows 30cm apart. They will need to be thinned as they mature, to ensure the root development is spot on and develop well, but don’t rush to it – Parsnips take 120 – 180 days to mature! Parsnips will benefit from their soil being kept moist, so ensure a regular and consistent irrigation regime.
To ensure this patch is as productive as possible, Tino is sowing Radish seeds into the rows between the Parsnip – they’ll shoot in less than a week, so the rows will be clearly defined. Radish seeds can be sown at a spacing of about 3cm, or Seed Tape can be used (or made) which ensures the spacing is even and consistent. Given how quickly radishes grow and are ready for harvesting, they will be out of the way well before the parsnips are maturing.
Come harvest time for the parsnips, it is best to harvest your crop after a frost – it helps build up the sugars in the tap root, meaning they will be sweeter, and more delicious.
Parsnip is considered a winter vegetable because its flavor is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures for 2 to 4 weeks in the fall and early winter. The starch in the parsnip root changes into sugar, resulting in a strong, sweet, unique taste.
Cobham Improved Marrow (high sugar; half-long shape; better for heavy soils)
When to Plant
Plant seed in early April or May in a deep, fertile soil that is well prepared. Because parsnip seed is very short-lived, you must obtain a fresh supply each spring.
Spacing & Depth
Plant seeds 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. Because germination of even the freshest parsnip seed is often mediocre, seed thickly, at least two or three seeds per inch to ensure a good stand. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart or plants 8 to 10 inches apart in a bed. Parsnip seed is slow to germinate and some gardeners drop a radish seed every foot in the furrow to mark the row and help break the soil crust. Once parsnip seedlings are up and growing, pull the radishes and thin parsnip seedlings to 2 to 4 inches apart.
Keep young parsnip plants free of weeds by shallow hoeing or cultivation. Watch for swallowtail-butterfly caterpillars, which feed on most members of the carrot family. Handpicking the caterpillars from the leaves normally gives adequate control. Water thoroughly once a week in periods of extended dry weather to keep growth from slowing in summer.
Dig the roots (usually 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter and 8 to 12 inches long) with a shovel, tilling spade or spading fork. Yields frequently exceed one pound per foot of row (single roots may weigh more than one pound each).
Low soil fertility is a common problem. However, in well maintained garden soils adequately supplied with organic matter and fertilizer, this ordinarily should not be a problem. If plants begin to look light green or stunted during the season due to low fertility, the problem usually can be overcome by side-dressing with a complete fertilizer in late June. Avoid fertilizing with fresh clumps of organic matter where parsnips will be grown. This can cause misshapen or forked roots. Parsnips are relatively free of both insects and diseases.
Questions & Answers
Q. Do parsnip seeds germinate poorly?
A. Parsnip seeds germinate very slowly even under the best conditions. The seeds also lose their ability to germinate after the first year, so discard unused seeds. Sowing a few radish seeds with parsnip seeds provides early plants to mark the parsnip row so you can cultivate before the slow-germinating parsnip plants appear.
Q. Can parsnips be left in the soil over winter?
A. If you leave parsnips in the soil over winter, throw a few inches of soil over the crowns after the first fall frosts. Stored starches are changed to sugar in early spring as the old plants prepare for new growth, thus roots harvested in early spring are especially tender and sweet. The roots lose flavor and become fibrous if you do not harvest them before new tops and seed stalks begin to grow.
Q. Are parsnips poisonous?
A. Parsnips (Pastenica sativa) are not poisonous at any time during the first growing season nor after the roots have been left in the soil over winter.
Parsnips require a long growing season and are best planted in spring for autumn or winter harvest. In warm-winter regions, sow parsnips in late autumn for harvest the next spring.
Mature parsnips store well in the ground as long as the ground does not freeze. Frost and freezing temperatures improve the flavor of the roots.
Grow parsnips and other roots crops in light-textured soil free of pebbles and stones. This will ensure roots do not split or become malformed.
Parsnips mature in 100 to 120 days depending on the variety.
Parsnips Sowing and Planting Tips
- Start parsnip seed directly in the garden.
- Seed is viable for just 1 year.
- Start seeds in the garden about 4 to 2 weeks before the last expected frost. Parsnips can be started indoors, but they—like most root crops—are difficult to transplant to the garden with success.
- Sow seed ¼ to ½ (6-13 mm) inch deep and be sure to heel or stamp the soil firmly in to ensure sufficient contact with the soil.
- Sow seed 1 inch (2.4 cm) apart or closer and later thin successful plants to 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) apart. It’s best to over-seed because parsnip seeds are known for poor germination.
- Space rows 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
- Sow seed in loose, fertile soil. Adding aged compost to planting beds in advance of sowing will feed the soil and aide moisture retention.
- Seeds should germinate in 12 to 14 days at an optimal temperature of 70°F (21C) or thereabouts; germination can be slow in chilly soil.
- Optimum soil temperature to grow turnips is 60°F (16°C).
- Parsnips prefer a soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.
- Grow parsnips in full sun for best yield—tolerates partial shade.
- Avoid planting parsnips where carrots, parsley, or celery have grown recently.
- Fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion at half strength.
- Common pest enemies are armyworms, cabbage root maggots, carrot rust flies, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and onion maggots. Protect the seedlings from pests and cold for 2 to 3 weeks after planting with spun poly row covers.
Interplanting: Plant parsnips with bush beans, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, peas, southern peas, radishes, and rutabagas.
Container Growing Parsnips: Choose a container 15 inches (38 cm) deep.
Parsnip Planting Calendar
- 6-4 weeks after the last frost in spring: direct-sow in the garden for fall and winter harvest.
Parsnips require a long growing season and are best planted in spring for autumn or winter harvest.
Recommended Parsnip Varieties
- ‘Harris Model’ has snow-white flesh and great flavor.
- ‘Lancer’ is similar to ‘Harris Model’ but resistant to disease.
- ‘Gladiator’ is sweet flavored.
- ‘White Gem’ grows in all soils.
Botanical Name: Pastinaca sativa
Parsnips are a member of the Apiaceae also called Umbelliferae family; other members of this family include carrots, celery, dill, fennel, parsley, and parsnips.
More tips: How to Grow Parsnips.
HOW TO GROW PARSNIPS
TYPES OF PARSNIP
There are no real “types” of parsnips but there definitely are varieties which are better for some soils compared to others. All parsnips are best suited to well dug, light soil which drains well. However some varieties do better on heavy soils such as clay. These are the thicker types which are also shorter. One common example of this variety is White Gem – it will never win any prizes at the show bench but if your soil is heavy then this makes an excellent choice.
Our list of suggested varieties, which can be seen here, gives extensive details of all the easily obtained parsnip varieties in the UK and Ireland.
Before reading this article further why not take two minutes to adjust all the dates in this website (including those below) to be more accurate for your home town (both UK and Ireland). The dates will default to the UK average if no dates are set. The settings will last for six months or more.
QUICK CALENDAR FOR GROWING PARSNIPS IN THE AVERAGE UK AREA
Before using the calendar below, why not adjust it to your weather conditions?
Not only will the calendar below be correct for your area but all dates in this site will also be adjusted. Your setting will last for six months or more and still be set when you revisit this site. If you prefer not to adjust the dates they will be the average for the UK.
Pre-germinate parsnip seeds (optional) – April week 3
Sow parsnip seeds outside – April week 4
Thin parsnip seedlings – May week 4
Begin to harvest parsnips – September week 2
WHERE TO GROW PARSNIPS
Parsnips grow best in the following conditions:
- A well-drained soil which has been well dug to include lots of well-rotted organic material.
- Remove as many stones from the ground as possible. When parsnip roots hit stones they tend to split and grow wonky.
- Do not add manure to the site before sowing seed. Addition of fresh manure encourages the roots to split
- Parsnips prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They don’t do well on acid soils. See here for more about soil acidity / alkalinity.
- They grow equally well in full sun and partial shade. They don’t like dry soil however so if that might be a problem on your plot position them in partial shade where the soil will remain moist for longer.
WHEN AND HOW TO SOW PARSNIP SEED
Firstly to practical matters, parsnip seeds are wafer thin and very light, so only sow them when there is no wind. The seeds only last six months or so and definitely not for a year, so choose your supplier carefully. Sowing old parsnip seeds will only result in disappointment.
One word of hard-earned advice, forget sowing parsnip seeds in pots or loo roll inners, it doesn’t work well. The plants will come up successfully but the roots inevitably will be forked. This applies to sowing directly in the ground and pre-germinating the seeds first.
Follow our advice below for sowing parsnip seed directly in the ground and you should have no problems. If you want to sow the seeds directly in the ground outside without pre-germinating them to skip the next section.
HOW TO PRE-GERMINATE PARSNIP SEED
Parsnips are notoriously difficult to germinate so you may want to pre-germinate the seeds before sowing them. Pre-germinating seed starts them into life before you sow them which is especially useful with parsnips.
The steps for pre-germinating parsnip seed are simple and outlined below:
- Start the process off in the third week of April which is a week or so before you would normally sow the seed directly outside.
- Place the seeds on a damp paper towel in a bowl or container and gently pat them down. Cover with cling film to prevent moisture loss (the cling film should not be touching the seeds) and place in a moderately warm area inside the house, a temperature of around 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C) is ideal.
- Keep the paper towel moist at all times. The seeds will take seven to ten days to germinate, if they haven’t geminated after three weeks using this method then suspect that they never will. In this case buy new fresh seeds from a reputable supplier and start the process again.
- Germinated seeds will sprout a tiny white root which indicates they are beginning to grow. The roots are difficult to see on white paper towels so keep a good watch on them at least once a day after the first three days.
- Immediately the seeds have germinated, sow them as described below. It will be a bit fiddly to do this because the seeds will be damp. The best solution is to take the paper towel with the pre-germinated seeds outside to where they can be sown one by one.
SOWING PARSNIP SEED OUTSIDE
As long as you stick to the timescales below you should have no problem getting parsnips to grow from a direct outdoor sowing. The key is to ignore any advice which suggests sowing the seeds as early as possible in the year, even if it appears on the seed packet.
Parsnip seeds need a minimum soil temperature of 41°F / 5°C to germinate but the ideal temperature attainable in the UK is about 53°F / 12°C which occurs most years in the last week of April. Stick to that date, ignore any advice about earlier dates and you won’t go far wrong.
Use the edge of a hoe or a trowel to draw a groove in the prepared soil to a depth of 2.5cm / 1in. Sow one seed every 5cm / 2in, if you have more than one row the rows should be 45cm / 18in apart. Draw the soil over the seeds and water well.
The seeds will take a couple of weeks to appear above ground, longer in some cases, so make sure you mark the rows carefully to indicate where they are sown. A line of string will do fine. Some gardeners sow radish seed along side the rows which does two things. First, the radish seedlings will appear much sooner than the parsnip seedlings which will clearly show where the parsnips are. It will also give you a crop of radish well before they are able to interfere with the parsnips.
CARE OF PARSNIPS
When the seedlings appear thin them to one every 20cm / 8in apart. Throw the thinnings on the compost heap, don’t replant them elsewhere because replanted parsnips do not grow well.
Parsnips develop long tap roots so they are unlikely to die from lack of water. Watering in dry conditions however, will help stop the roots from splitting.
Parsnips grow best where nitrogen based nutrients are slightly on the low side. We suggest a feed of blood, fish and bone fertiliser every other month to provide trace elements and other nutrients.
Your parsnips will look after themselves from now on until harvest time, regular weeding is the only job required.
WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST PARSNIPS
Your parsnips will be large enough to harvest from mid-September onwards and will last in the ground until early the next year. Traditional gardening wisdom says that parsnips exposed to frosts sweeten up and taste better than those harvested earlier. Conduct your own taste experiment by harvesting some in mid September and then in early November comparing the taste of the two.
Parsnips store best when left in the ground but in cooler areas, from October onwards, frozen soil can make harvesting near impossible. Harvested parsnips can be stored in buckets of garden soil or spent compost in a garden shed or unheated garage.
One word of advice for those who plan leave their parsnips in the ground from late October onwards, is that the foliage dies down and in some cases it is difficult to see exactly where your remaining parsnips are! We recommend some form of marking them – plant labels or a line of string are two obvious solutions.
for our page dedicated to the different varieties of parsnips which are available in the UK and Ireland.
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