How to Grow Parsnips
When to Start: Early spring
At Their Best: Winter
Time to Complete: 30 minutes for sowing; 3 hours for planting out
- parsnip seed
- plant markers
Sow in Drills
Always sow fresh seed. On well-drained soil, mark out a line with string and make a shallow drill, then sow seed thinly along it. Once germinated, thin to 3 inches apart for small, sweet roots, or slightly farther apart for larger ones.
In cold weather you may need to apply a straw mulch (pinned down with hoops of wire) to prevent the soil and the parsnips from freezing.
Parsnips taste sweetest after a light frost, so don't harvest too early. The leaves die down in winter, so you will need to mark the rows well so that roots are easily found. Dig up and eat as required; their taste will improve as the winter wears on.