They look like white carrots, however Parsnip have a very distinctive taste and growing parsnip at home is easy. The best tasting ones come fresh from the home garden. They can be roasted or made into purees, used in soups and in stews.
Sometimes seen as an old fashioned plant, Parsnip is a root vegetable grown in a similar manner to carrots. . A loose humus rich well drained soil is best and they are best planted from seed.
How to Grow Parsnip
Parsnip require cool night for good crops, they are easy to grow, however seed does have poor germination rates. Most growers over sow the number of seeds and then thin to the proper density.
A few named varieties are available including the popular ‘Hollow Crown’.
Look for good quality seed and remember that parsnip take a while to grow. So sow early in spring.
Consider soaking the seeds overnight to speed up germination.
- Dig the soil over well so that it is loose and friable.
- Add a good amount of well rotted compost.
- Try to cultivate to a depth or around 40 cm, this allows the parsnip root easy development.
- Sow the seeds in rows around 15 cm apart.
- Parsnip seeds are sown just below the surface.
- Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
- Seeds should germinate in around 3 weeks.
- You will then need to thin the seedlings to give plants adequate room. Around 8cm apart as a guide.
- Do not allow the seeds to dry out at any time. Water almost every day until seeds have germinated.
Avoid over fertilising as this can result in forked roots. A little lime added to the soil is beneficial.
From planting to harvest will take around 20 weeks. When you harvest parsnip, remove the green foliage to stop them from going soft.