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Parsnip surprise

Parsnip beds

Parsnips, at last! This is a crop I’ve tried to grow almost every year, but until this season, it’ hasn’t come through. Parsnips take a while to germinate, a couple of weeks or more, right in the middle of the spring planting-out rush. Weeds would start to take over, parsnips weren’t a priority, and I’d never find the time to save them. This year’s warm, wet spring made a difference. Germination was quick and the seedlings surged ahead of the weeds! Nearly four months later and, even in dense, unthinned rows, the parsnips are thriving. Yay! Today, I dug up about 6″ (15cm) of a row to check ’em out. With the crowding, there’s a motley assortment of sizes, but overall yield looks good. Another month in the ground, a little post-harvest sorting, and it’ll be parsnips for all!




  1. Alex Johnson

    My grandma used to cook parsnips for me and my brothers when we were young. Back then, I wasn’t a fan of them. Now that I can’t grow them (or find them easily in stores) I have a craving for them. Life is funny like that!

  2. Steve Mudge

    I grew parsnips this last year but during the winter months–didn’t seem to mind low 20sF at all in Texas.  It was the first time I can recall eating parsnips–man they were good!  The summer fever is finally breaking down here (90s-100s since May) so time to think about parsnips again–thanks for the reminder.

  3. Steve Mudge

    Oh yah–when will you harvest the sweet potatoes…are they doing okay with the cool summer?  I’m getting close to digging around to see how our patch has done this year.

  4. Robert

    Parsnips will last in the soil over winter.

  5. Marcia

    We planted our first parsnips a few weeks ago. We planted the tiny seeds on Thursday evening, along with beets, carrots and radishes and used the burlap method that I read about here. Come the first of the following week one of those hurricanes dumped tons of rain on our area (Troutman, NC) over 3 days time. We had 8-12″ of rain in one day in some places! Upon inspection after the storms most was intact but the parsnips looked like a scene from “A River Runs Through It”. There are a few trying to make it but I think most of the seeds ended up in the tomato space. If we dry out enough soon, I may try another bed. Wish us luck!

  6. I also found out that parsnips like carrots have a very short shelf life for the seed.  I now always try to use seed that is less than one year old. If I go to my second year the germination rate falls precipitiously.

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