How To Grow Parsnips


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pastinaca sativa
LIGHT: Full Sun
SOIL TYPE: Rich, well-drained, with organic matter
pH RANGE: 6.5
MOISTURE/WATERING: Keep moist, not waterlogged
MATURITY IN DAYS: Up to 150 Days
KNOWN PESTS: Root maggot



Parsnips have a sweet nutty flavour. Fresh parsnip will have a soft texture when cooked, but an old parsnip will be fibrous and bitter. The whiter parsnips tend to be the most tender, and should be firm like carrots.

Parsnips are a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6. Parsnips colour is a clue to the fact that it does not contain any beta carotene. Parsnip can be also be cooked like carrots, but overcooking can turn them to mush.


Parsnip seed does not keep well from year to year; use only fresh seed. Sow parsnip as early as ground can be worked. Sow seed ½” deep in rows 18-24” apart. Thin to 3 inches apart. Adequate moisture and a cool soil temperature of 15-18°C (60-65°F) is essential for good germination with parsnip, which may take up to 21 days.


Parsnip do well with Bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, radish.


Parsnip enjoy full sun with a soil pH of 6.5. Requires a rich, deeply cultivated soil with plenty of organic matter, incorporate compost or well rotted manure prior to planting.


Harvest parsnips any time once roots are adequately sized. Parsnips are tender and flavourful in the fall. A few light frosts will improve the flavour. Parsnips may also be mulched and left in ground over winter and dug as the ground thaws.

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