Before I get started, here is a great post that I found while researching:
The other day when I was at the store I came across a bunch of seeds in jars that were for sale. There were lots of varieties of lettuces and squashes, but I wanted something unique. So as I was looking through all the different seeds I came across a jar labeled Parsnips. I had never tasted a parsnip before, so naturally I bought the seeds. Now here I am writing a blog post about it to give me an excuse to learn how to do this. So now that all researching is completed, here is how to start parsnip seeds!
Unfortunately as I was researching this morning I found that these plants can actually be quite difficult to get to germinate. One reason in particular is that their seeds are only viable for 1-2 years. Hopefully the seeds I came across were in that range, but unluckily for me there is no way to be sure.
Parsnips tend to take a long time to germinate, often times up to a month. They also tend to take a long time to reach maturity, around 100-120 days.
Parsnips shouldn’t be started indoors, as they are a root crop(similar to carrots). With root crops it’s usually best to avoid transplanting as much as possible(I made this mistake last year) so that you eliminate the risk of damaging the roots. Parsnips should be planted in early spring once the soil is at about 50 degrees. They are also frost hardy so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that.
Another thing that parsnips need, is nice rich loamy soil. Rocky soil isn’t great as it can cause misshapen roots. Parsnip roots can grow up to be a foot long so be mindful of that when planting the seeds.
Parsnips can also be a bit touchy when it comes to moisture. Too dry and they won’t germinate, too wet and they will rot. Keeping the soil constantly moist is your best option.
While your seeds are germinating in the soil be mindful of weeds. Weeds that get out of hand will easily destroy your tiny parsnips while they are very young. Frequent weeding is a must if you are to be successful.
Once your parsnip plants are a decent size they should be pretty easy, just water them often and they should be good until harvest time. Harvest when you notice the leaves start dying or when the root tops are around 3/4 in.-1 in.
When harvesting wear gloves, long sleeves, and pants to prevent Parsnip burn. You can read more about that in the article I linked to above.
Thanks for reading! Have a great rest of your day!