These reader tips for growing parsnips will have you eating sweet roots within the next year.
Parsnips are delicious, and you can grow them yourself.
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/GRAEME GILMOUR
Parsnips are a versatile vegetable to use in soups, stews and as an accompaniment to pork, beef or chicken. Plant the seeds in spring in loose soil that has been deeply dug. Adding compost or aged cow manure to the soil will help the parsnips grow long and straight.
The seeds are slow to germinate; it might take two or three weeks. Sow a few radish seeds in the parsnip seed row to indicate where the tardy parsnip seeds have been planted. Another way to mark the row and encourage germination is to put a board over the row where the seeds are planted. It will help keep the soil moist. Check each day and remove the board as soon as you see the little sprouts.
The long, pale roots may be pulled at the end of the summer, but if you leave them in the ground until the following spring, you’ll be rewarded with sweeter roots.