The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable and unsurprisingly a member of the carrot family. It’s native to northern Europe, including Britain, where roots can usually be found growing wildly on dry grassland and often calcareous soils. Being one of our most-loved vegetables, they have an earthy but sweet flavour and are great used in hearty winter roasts, soups and stews.
How to Sow and Grow Parsnips
Parsnips do well in a wide range of soils, but fewer stones present the better. Seed should be sown on freshly manured ground as this will encourage the roots to fork. While seed can be sown early, cold wet conditions will delay germination, so if in doubt delay sowings until the soil warms up and starts to dry.
Sow outdoors thinly where they are to crop, 1.5cm (1/2in) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Allow 40cm (16in) between rows. Early sowings may benefit from cloche protection. Seedlings usually appear in 14-32 days. Thin plants to 20cm(8in) apart. Replace any dislodged soil. Water well until plants are established. Leave roots in the ground until required, as they improve after exposure to autumn frosts.