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Growing Organics Parsnips

Posted December 18, 2018

Parsnips are tasty winter crops that are extremely hardy and also and excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fiber.  They are biennials grown as an annual for its earthy, plump, tasty root, which tastes particularly good roasted and even better when roasted with other root crops such as carrots.

Parsnips can take three to four weeks to germinate and require a fairly long growing season.  Always use fresh seed for sowing, as parsnip seeds do not keep well. Plant directly into the soil mid-March through Mid-May.

Parsnips prefer an open, sunny or lightly shaded spot with free-draining, deeply cultivated, light, loose soil that has had plenty of organic compost incorporated, amended with Rock Phosphate.  They also appreciate warm soil, so cover with cloches or fleece prior to sowing.  We have had better germination rate when we water with a diluted liquid kelp fertilizer the first few waterings. Parsnips dislike disturbance, so while thinning them, take extra care to keep the strongest seedlings in their place. Water immediately afterwards to settle the row in. 

During the growing season, keep the rows watered and free from weeds.  Take care not to damage the shoulders of the parsnips.  Harvest from the end of November onwards, preferably after a frost, which gives them a fuller, sweeter flavor.   If you have had a corky, flavorless, or overly strong tasting parsnip, chances are they were harvested before a frost.  You can store them in the ground until February.  When harvesting, first loosen the soil with a fork to avoid damaging the tapered roots. 


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