All American Parsnip Guide
Parsnips grow best in cooler weather between 45°F-70°F. They do great in deep containers and small gardens. Bank on Seeds recommends direct seeding.
If Direct Seeding
- Direct seed outside 2-3 weeks before the last frost date; or
- Direct seed into a container 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide anytime of the year. It can be placed outside when the temperature is between 45°F-70°F; or
Begin the growing season early and start the parsnip seeds in biodegradable pods that will let the roots grow through 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Germination is best and fastest between 50°F-65°F. It can be transplanted outside 6 weeks later.
Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2-3 inches apart with rows spaced 12-18 inches apart. Germination will take 14-21 days. *Be very careful when transplanting not to damage the roots.
Parsnip likes well-draining, light soil free of weeds. They also love full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Water regularly to keep the soil lightly moist, not soggy. Check the top 2-3 inches of soil and if it’s dry, then water it. Make sure to water at the base and not from above the plant to prevent rot or disease.
Adding a layer of mulch helps in retaining moisture, regulating temperature, and preventing weed growth. If you weed by hand, make sure not to disturb the roots of the parsnip. Fertilize with aged compost or 10-10-10 fertilizer.
All American parsnip develops in 105 days. Harvest roots when they reach 4-9 inches. They taste better if they’ve been through cold weather or a light frost. You can dig up the hearty roots anytime before the ground freezes to cook with or to overwinter.
Parsnip is generally disease and pest free.
*Companion plant parsnips with beans, beets, onions, peas, peppers and radishes. Avoid planting with carrots, celery, dill and fennel.*