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Growing Parsnip

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Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 43°F and 70°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 3 - 4 inches apart
  • Harvest in 17-20 weeks. Best flavour if harvested after a frost..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Swiss Chard (Silverbeet), Capsicum, Peas, Potatoes, Beans, Radishes, Garlic
  • Avoid growing close to: Carrot, Celery, Brassicas

Your comments and tips

16 May 16, Bianca (Australia - temperate climate)
My frost dates are June, maybe last one in July, if the cold weather lasts that long. If i was to plant in Aug as suggested above, and harvest in 20 weeks, this would not see us through to a frost date with the parsnips in the ground... Can anyone shed any light on correct planting times? I would have to assume this is inaccurate?
15 Aug 16, Trish j (Australia - temperate climate)
Hey Bianca, I read that because they are so difficult to grow the best way to grow parsnips is to keep them in the same patch, and let the patch self seed, so only pick half the crop, ensure they go to seed and harvest again the following years. I havesome beautiful parsnips, (in heavy soil too!) not many, so not picking, waiting for them to seed for next year.
30 May 16, Ben (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hey Bianca, Yeah unfortunately parsnips need a long cool season to grow at their best, and your question makes sense. I'm in far north nsw and we just make sure to plant them as soon as night temps get consistently below 14C (usually around end April/beginning May) and harvest them before night temps are consistently above 14C (usually late September). They also start to flower around this time so we get them out before that happens too. Saving seeds of the last plants to flower is a good idea so that you can eventually have more heat-tolerant parsnips in future. So basically the earlier you can get them in the better, but not too early! haha. I think the planting times are set as they are because it's when the weather is safely cool enough in ALL subtropical regions but yeah I reckon just go with the conditions of your micro-climate. Hope that helps. Ben
02 May 16, Tony (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Ok I'm going to give parsnips some serious attention this year - I love 'em! I live on sub-tropical North Coast NSW How worried do I have to be about stones/compost twiggy bits etc in my soil? I have dug down 30cm and sieved the soil to 5 mm - but there are still some gritty bits -do i have to go to flyscreen to get rid of the stoney bits? very tedious sieving- I'm thinking of using equal parts soil/compost - both sieved to 5mm. Any responses gratefully received
24 Sep 16, Barbara (Australia - temperate climate)
I live below the Range at Toowoomba and see plants I have "killed" in my garden growing out of the gravel in the excavations so I no longer worry about that sort of thing as water and nutrients are the important things. Strong roots will go around or even into gravel etc. I make wicking beds [google or you-tube for info], I put bones, a layer of veggie scraps and finely crushed egg shell after the first layer of soil, by the time roots have got down 25 cm. it is a slow release fertilizer.
27 Apr 16, Richard (Australia - temperate climate)
how do you harvest on medium sized scale
30 Mar 16, Holly (Australia - temperate climate)
hey just wondering when are parsnips in season
22 Mar 16, Francine (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Just want to know which month is the best time to plant parsnips. Here in the Free state, can I still plant parsnips now, or do I have to wait till after winter time?
17 Aug 15, Norman Dunn (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
Is the parsnip widely grown in the USA and where is it mostly popular. Thank you
25 Feb 15, Josie (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi I buy my seeds on bidorbuy from lavenerhaven. They have a great selection. Also try livingseeds.co.za also fabulous collection. Hope that helps.
Showing 11 - 20 of 65 comments

Parsnips like deep friable soil to get long roots. Too much manure will give you twisted and forked roots. Planting them after a crop like lettuces, cabbages, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, etc is good as the soil will be loosened up and there will be less nitrogen in the soil. An excess of nitrogen will cause big bushy tops and small roots.

- John

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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