Parsnips are a tasty root vegetable that are perfect for growing during the cooler months of the year. Parsnips can be enjoyed roasted, marinated, and even grilled, giving you all sorts of serving options. If you are thinking about adding parsnips to your gardening layout this year, take a look below at some helpful tips for planting parsnips in your garden.
How to start parsnips from seed:
Before parsnip seeds can be planted, they need to germinate indoors. This will help speed up the already slow and lengthy growing process. To help the seeds get started, wrap them in a wet paper towel and store them in a container for 3-5 days. As soon as you see sprouting, they are ready to be planted. Do not wait once you see the sprouts. Try to plant the same day if at all possible.
How to transplant parsnip seedlings:
Two weeks before the last frost of the season, you can start planting your sprouts outdoors. You want to plant the sprouts ½ an inch deep and about 3 inches apart. Like carrots and other root vegetables, you want to be sure the soil is free from debris that could block the growth of the root. Use soil that is well drained, and be sure the area gets moderate sun.
How to care for parsnip seedlings:
Once your parsnip seedlings start to sprout, you need to keep an eye out for overcrowding. Thin out the plants if you see they are growing less than four inches close. Just choose to leave the stronger of the two plants and remove the smaller, weaker one.
As your parsnips continue to grow, they will be sensitive to weeds. It is very important that you weed every few days to keep weeds at bay. Parsnips will also require at least two inches of water per week, so be vigilant about checking the soil and keeping it moist. A layer of mulch can help keep these roots of the plant cool as well as hold moisture in.
General tips for producing a good crop:
Weeds will be the number one enemy of your parsnip plants. Be sure you check often for weeds. You won’t see a great deal of pests bothering your parsnips but if you do, simply pick them off. As long as you are providing ample water, weeding, and thinning, your parsnips will do the rest of the work.
When and how to harvest parsnips:
Parsnips will begin to push out of the ground when they are ready to be harvested. Just look at the base of the plant and if you see the white top of the parsnip, it is ready to be harvested. Gently loosen the parsnip from the soil and pull.
Once your parsnips are harvested simply cut off the top and store in a cool place. You can prepare parsnips just as you would any root vegetable, and they make excellent side dishes. Give parsnips a try in your garden this year and see how much you like them!