Despite lots of people struggling with growing parsnips, we have always found them easy to grow. Parsnips are a long-term crop and take 17 to 20 weeks before they are ready for harvest. Parsnips are delicious roasted, added to mash potato or in a soup and also are a good source of fibre, folate, manganese and vitamin c.
Sowing your Parsnip Seeds
Parsnip seeds need to be directly sown into the garden bed. Sow the seeds 10-15mm deep and 75mm- 100m apart. We recommend planting at least 2-3 seeds per hole as we have found they have a poor germination rate. Thin seedlings out to 1 plant per 75mm-100mm. Seeds can also take up to 4 weeks to germinate so be patient. Parsnip seeds are not viable for long periods, so make sure your seeds are no more than 2 years old.
Where and When to Plant your Parsnips
We sow our parsnips in a full sun position as the weather starts to cool off, generally around April, and pick them from September through to October. Sow them into a mulched, well composted and loose garden bed. We also add blood and bone and organic slow release fertilser. If you are concerned about getting twisted roots or parsnips that aren’t straight make sure your garden bed is free of debris, such as wood chips and sticks.
Caring for your Parsnip
Once your parsnips are up, there is not much to do to care for them other than to inspect the health of your plant and feed if necessary. When coming into spring and the warmer weather, check the condition of the mulch and reapply if necessary.
Common Problem with your Parsnip
My parsnip roots are all lumpy
This is root knot nematode. The crop is still edible but to fix the issue you need to build your soil into a healthy soil. Here is how we boost our soil.
My parsnip leaves are being eaten
This can be a problem especially when the plant is young. The likely culprits will be caterpillars, slugs, or snails. Here is how we deal with caterpillar and slugs and snails.