Discover how to grow Parsnips with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, pests and disease, and harvesting and storage.
Parsnips Garden Guide
Parsnips Stats at a Glance
Can I Start Parsnips from Seed?
Parsnips can be directly sown into the garden as soon as the soil reaches 50°F. Sow them in shallow rows ½” deep. Sow seeds 1 inch apart in rows 2 feet apart. Thin when seedlings reach 3-4”.
When to Start Seeds: >Early spring
Time to Germination: 5-10 days
Optimal Temp. for Germination: 50-85°F
When Do I Plant Parsnips?
Parsnips are considered a cool weather plant and can be planted in early spring when the soil has reached at least 50°F. They will germinate much more quickly in warmer soil. Parsnips require 2-4 of near freezing weather to fully develop flavor. Most varieties mature in 120 days, so time your planting so that they will reach maturity in the late fall.
Soil Temperature: 50°F
You can also seed 8-10 weeks prior to the first frost for your area.
Where Do I Plant Parsnips?
As a root vegetable, parsnips require loose soil that is free of stones for optimal growth. The plants perform best in loamy, well-drained soil high in organic matter with a neutral pH. Incorporating several inches of organic matter into the soil when preparing the bed will improve growth and development.
Prepare the bed deeply to allow the roots to grow readily.
Soil Type: Well-drained, free of stones
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
How Far Apart Do I Plant Parsnips?
Parsnips Plant Care and Maintenance
How Often Should I Water Parsnips?
The key to watering Parsnips is to maintain a consistent moisture level. This is especially important during root development. The soil should be moist to a depth of 6”. Allowing the soil to dry out between watering will result in misshapen or forked roots.
Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease. Drip irrigation is best.
Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.
Should I Fertilize Parsnips?
Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test. If a soil test cannot be obtained, Parsnips generally perform well with a 10-10-10 fertilizer worked into the soil prior to planting. Fertilize again six weeks after seedlings emerge with a nitrogen fertilizer and again 4 weeks later.
Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base. Irrigate into the soil.
Additional Care Instructions
Hand pull weeds that development in the garden as more aggressive cultivation could harm the plant roots.
At the end of the season, remove all spent plants from the garden to discourage mildew.
The most common diseases associated with this plant include canker, leaf blights, root rots, and yellow.
Harvesting and Storing Parsnips
When Do I Harvest Parsnips?
Parsnips take an average of 120 days to reach full maturity. In order to reach full flavor and sweetness, parsnips need to be exposed to cold temperatures for 2-4 weeks. They should remain in the ground until the tops freeze later in the fall.
How Do I Harvest Parsnips?
Harvest parsnips by loosening the soil around the root with a spade.
How Do I Store Parsnips?
Storing at 32°F at 95% humidity will keep parsnips for up to 4 weeks.