All About Growing Parsnips

Any gardener can be successful growing parsnips, a delicious root crop that tastes best when harvested in early winter, after the soil has turned cold. Get organic growing tips plus recommendations for parsnip varieties.

  • Grow parsnips to add some variety to your roasted root veggies. Think potatoes, carrots, parsnips and turnips tossed in garlic, herbs and olive oil. Yum!
    Illustration by Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The deeply worked soils in permanent beds make great spots for growing parsnips (Pastinaca sativa). Parsnips are related to carrots, but they grow much more vigorous tops and take longer to mature.

A good source of vitamin C and several important minerals, parsnips are a snap to grow in cool climates and as a fall crop where summers are hot. Parsnips need loose, fertile soil that is free of stones and hard clods of compacted soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Frequent watering may be needed to keep the soil constantly moist.  

Parsnip Varieties

All parsnip varieties take a long time to mature, with hybrids such ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Javelin’ maturing about as 110 days after sowing. Compare this with 120 days for open-pollinated varieties such as ‘Cobham Improved,’ ‘Andover’  and ‘Harris Model.’

Try growing a few different varieties, because they may differ slightly in how well they grow in your site and soil.

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