Tender and True


A delicious heirloom variety, Tender and True parsnips are some of the best flavoured on the market. Its large, tender roots and resistance to canker make it an excellent choice for any garden or allotment. Hardy throughout the British Isles.

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Germination7 - 20 Days
Sowing MethodDirect to Ground
Days to Maturity240 Days
Seed Count800
Recommended Soil pH6.5-7.5

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Introduced in 1897, the Tender and True parsnip has long, tapering roots measuring 3 inches across at the shoulder. The long, elegant roots grow reliably straight in stone-free soil, and are therefore favourites in the show benches. The cream-white flesh is of superb quality, tender and very sweet. It’s also virtually core-free and canker-resistant, making preparing them oh so much easier. Traditionally roasted alongside the Sunday joint, Tender and True can also be steamed or used in soups and stews.

Like all parsnips, Tender and True is a long-term crop, needing to be in the ground at least 8 months before harvesting after the first frost. Hardy in our climes, you can harvest parsnips all winter long as needed.

Note: Parsnip seed doesn't store well. For best results, sow a fresh crop every year.

Height and spread: 45cm (18").

Starting out

Parsnips prefer light, free-draining soil, free of stones and dug down to at least a foot in depth. Like carrots and other plants with long taproots, parsnips are best seeded in place and don't respond well to transplanting.

They need a long growing season, so start as early in the year as possible, ideally under a cloche or other protection. Avoid cold, wet soil.

Direct Seed: Sow fairly thickly at a depth of 12mm (½”) in rows 25 to 30cm (10 to 12”) apart. Alternatively, sow 3-4 seeds at 10cm (4”). Keep the soil moist throughout germination and be patient—parsnip seeds are not always easy to germinate. Soaking the seeds overnight may help to hasten germination. Thin out the weaker seedlings and leave the stronger plants 10cm (4”) apart.

Mulch after planting to help keep the soil cool and moist. Water regularly.

Sowing Seeds Direct Outdoors
Thin week plants

 Planting tip: Sowing radishes along with the parsnips will help mark the row and keep the crust from hardening, making life a little easier for the parsnip pushing through. Once the radishes become big enough to eat, harvest them and thin the parsnip seedlings to10cm (4”) apart.


Once germinated, parsnips need virtually little help in getting along. Just keep them weed free (by hand if possible, to avoid scoring the roots).

Growing in the ground
Harvest Veg


Harvest 8 months from time of sowing and after the first frost. If your soil is loose enough, simply pull them up. If not, use a fork to carefully lift them. Parsnips store well in the ground, so if you’re not wanting to store them inside, simply harvest at need. In the UK, parsnips usually keep all winter long and into the spring. Once new growth begins to appear, harvest the remaining roots, as they’ll soon lose flavour.

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