How to Grow Parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables that are related to carrots and parsley. They are a delicious and nutritious addition to any garden, and are a great source of vitamins and minerals. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to grow parsnips in your garden.

  1. Planting Instructions:

Parsnips grow best in well-draining, fertile soil that is rich in organic matter. They prefer a pH level of 6.0-7.0. You can plant parsnips in the spring or fall, but they prefer cooler temperatures. They also require full sun exposure to grow properly. It is important to properly space the plants when planting to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to stunted growth. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart, in rows that are spaced 12-18 inches apart.

  1. Watering Requirements:

Parsnips require consistent watering to ensure healthy growth. However, be sure not to overwater as this can cause the roots to rot. The soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged. Water the plants deeply once a week, or more frequently during hot, dry weather.

  1. Fertilizing Tips:

Parsnips don’t require a lot of fertilizer, but they will benefit from a light application of balanced fertilizer before planting. Once the plants have established, side-dress them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as blood meal or fish emulsion, every 3-4 weeks to promote healthy growth.

  1. Pest Management:

Parsnips are relatively pest-free, but they can be affected by carrot rust flies and root maggots. To prevent these pests, cover the plants with floating row covers or insect netting. Rotate the crops yearly and avoid planting near other members of the carrot family.

  1. Disease Management:

Parsnips can be affected by fungal diseases such as leaf blight, root rot, and canker. To prevent these diseases, avoid planting in soil that has previously been used for carrots, parsnips, or other members of the carrot family. Practice crop rotation and keep the plants well-spaced to promote good air circulation. Remove any infected plants to prevent the spread of disease.

  1. Harvesting Instructions:

Parsnips are ready to harvest 100-120 days after sowing. They can be left in the ground until after the first frost, which improves their flavor. Gently loosen the soil around the roots and pull them up by the tops. Remove the tops and store the roots in a cool, dark, and dry place. They can last up to 6 months in storage.

  1. Storage Tips:

Store parsnips in a cool, dark, and dry place such as a root cellar or refrigerator. Keep them in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped in a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Do not wash them until ready to use.

  1. Top Varieties to Grow:

Some of the best varieties of parsnips to grow are All American, Harris Model, Hollow Crown, and White Spear.

  1. Recipe Ideas:

Parsnips are a versatile vegetable that can be roasted, mashed, pureed, or added to soups and stews. Try roasting them with a little honey and thyme, or pureeing them with some garlic and cream for a delicious and comforting side dish.

Conclusion:

Growing parsnips is a great way to add a nutritious and delicious root vegetable to your garden. By following these tips, you can grow healthy and flavorful parsnips that will be a great addition to your meals.