Parsnip Growing Guide

Pastinaca sativa

This hardy root vegetable develops a sweet, nut-like flavor after it has been heavily frosted. Parsnips were once a common vegetable at the dinner table and they deserve to come back in style. In the 1800s parsnips were often used to make marmalade and wine.

How to Grow: Sow seed in spring as soon as soil can be worked; sow within a few weeks of last spring frost at latest. Seeds may take 2-3 weeks to germinate and soil must not dry out. Radishes may be used to prevent soil crusting and to mark the location. Parsnips are even slower to germinate in hot soil and will be overwhelmed by weeds before they can germinate, so plant early! Plant 1/2 in. deep in raised beds and thin to 4-6 in. each way, or plant in rows 18 in. apart with plants thinned to 4 in. Soil should be well drained and not too rich in nutrients.

Harvest: A heavy frost may be necessary for full flavor development. Roots may be harvested or left in place during the winter for use in the spring. For a winter supply place roots horizontally in small boxes filled with garden soil or sand. Bring a box inside to thaw as needed.

Cooking: Boil, fry, or roast.

Seed Savers: Isolate varieties by 1/4 mile for home use. For pure seed isolate by a minimum of 1/2 to 1 mile.

Packet: 2 g (except as noted), approximately 845 seeds, sows 62'.

Parsnip varieties

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