Sow: February – March
Harvest: November onwards
Conditions: Rich, well drained soil in full sun or partial shade
Plant the seeds an inch deep, in rows 12 inches apart. When the seedlings are established, thin them out until they’re about 6 inches apart
Parsnips need damp conditions so keep them well watered during dry periods and keep the area weeded, as weeds will take moisture from the soil. If the summer is particularly warm, you can add a layer of mulch around the parsnips to help the soil retain water.
While parsnips should be ready to lift in October, it’s best to leave them in the ground until November, after the first few frosts as the coldness improves the sweetness. In fact, you can leave them in the ground until you need them, although you do run the risk of not being able to dig them out once the ground hardens. When harvesting parsnips, be aware that they grow quite deep into the ground so you’ll need to dig deeply and loosen the soil properly in order to lift them without damage.
TIP: Never use last year’s parsnip seeds.
To keep parsnips for as long as possible, cut the foliage off and store in sand in a cool, dry, dark place.
GOOD: Garlic, Onion, Pea, Pepper, Potato, Radish
BAD: Carrot, Celery