How to Grow Parsnips in the Garden

Why spend money on fresh veggies when you can get them from your own garden? Here's a step-by-step guide to growing parsnips in your yard.

By Lisa Thomas from Reader's Digest Garden Basics: Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Parsnips make a great addition to the vegetable garden. Before you begin planting, make sure that you are familiar with their growth habits and preferences. Sunny and open sites are most suitable for parsnips and, although light soil is best for root formation, they will grow on heavy soil too. Prepare the soil the previous autumn for best results.

Sow thinly

Sow parsnips in spring in groups of two to four seeds to a depth of less than an inch (2 cm). They are slow to germinate, but when necessary, thin out the seedlings leaving 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) between plants, depending on size of roots required.

Parsnips© iStockphoto / ThinkstockHealthy and tasty, parsnips make a great addition to your garden and kitchen.

Avoid drought

During the growing season keep weeds under control and water in dry periods or the roots will split.

Harvest after the first frost

Though it is possible to harvest parsnips from the end of summer onwards as you need them, wait if you can until the leaves have been damaged by the first frosts, as this will help to improve their flavor.

Leave in the ground

Parsnips can be left in the ground whatever the weather, since it is where they will keep best. Alternatively, they can be stored in crates filled with sand.

Plus: Candied Parsnips