Parsnips are a root vegetable related to carrots and parsley, known for their sweet, nutty flavor, especially after the first frosts. They require a long growing season and do best in full sun in deep, fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8-7.0. The soil should be free of stones and well-tilled to promote straight root growth.
It's best to sow parsnip seeds directly in the garden as early as the soil can be worked in spring. Parsnips take longer to germinate than many other vegetables.
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep, spacing them 1 inch apart in rows 12-18 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 3-6 inches apart once they are a few inches tall. Parsnips need consistent moisture to develop properly, especially during the germination and early growth stages.
For more information on growing parsnips, including specific care and harvesting tips, please refer to our comprehensive parsnip grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Parsnips are generally disease-resistant but can be affected by root rot in overly wet conditions. Common pests include carrot fly and aphids. Use row covers to protect young plants and practice crop rotation to prevent soil-borne diseases.
Parsnips are typically harvested in late fall after the first frosts, which sweeten their flavor. They can be left in the ground through the winter and harvested as needed. Dig them up carefully to avoid breaking the roots.
Storage and Preservation
Store parsnips in a cool, humid place, like a root cellar, or leave them in the ground covered with a thick layer of mulch. They can also be blanched and frozen for long-term storage.