How to Grow Parsnips

If you’re new to vegetable growing perhaps you’ve found parsnips tricky to grow? So far (touch wood) I’ve had good results with growing parsnips so I thought I’d share some tips on how I grow them:

  • Buy seed fresh every growing season to increase germination success, germination is generally slow.
  • Sow from March onwards, direct into the ground (once the soil has warmed) just under the surface of the soil, thin seedlings down to 6 inches apart. Parsnips are a root vegetable, they don’t appreciate being disturbed so it’s best to sow them where they are to grow (although you could start them off earlier in toilet roll tubes if you prefer).
  • Well drained, fairly deep and stone-free soil is ideal. Growing parsnips in raised beds makes it easier to control the desired depth and soil conditions that parsnips require.
  • Choose a sunny spot to sow seed, allowing plenty of space between rows. This will make lifting them easier later on.
  • Don’t sow on a windy day, the papery seed will fly everywhere!

I use Mr Fothergills ‘Gladiator’ seed, a canker resistant variety (the main problem for parsnips). I highly recommend this variety from growing experience. I don’t ‘chit’ my parsnip seed before sowing (placing seed on moist kitchen paper until they sprout), I haven’t found germination a problem with the variety I grow. Parsnips can be left in the ground until the following February/March, frost will sweeten the flavour so don’t worry about them getting chilly!

There’s still time to sow parsnips for your Christmas dinner. Happy parsnip growing!

If you found this post helpful let me know, I’d be happy to do more on other vegetables!

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5 comments

  1. It certainly is helpful – well for me anyways.

    So if I start now, they won’t be ready until christmas and ok for a container (deep one.) I know I’ll be limited on how many I grow but even enough just for christmas day would be kinda awesome.

  2. It’s possible for ‘Gladiator’ to be ready before, just depends how large you like parsnips to be and of course, weather (which isn’t so lovely at the moment). I’ve found this variety pretty quick to mature, sowing in May. A large deep container would probably work well, give it a go!

  3. Yum! I can’t wait to get my new garnden established enough to grow root veggies (the compacted soil needs serious work). Good thing I’m in the southern hemisphere so have a months up my sleeve before planting. Your parsnips do look amazing.

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