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The Ultimate Guide to Growing Delicious Parsnips at Home in the UK

Are you ready to grow your own delicious parsnips at home in the UK? From choosing the ideal location to harvesting and storing your bountiful crop, this ultimate guide provides all the tips and tricks you need. Discover the best parsnip varieties, learn how to tackle common pests and diseases, and find out which tools are essential for successful parsnip cultivation. Get ready to enjoy the sweet and earthy flavors of homegrown parsnips in no time!
macro photography four brown carrots

Table of Contents


Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to grow your own mouthwatering parsnips right in your backyard! In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to successfully grow and harvest these tasty root vegetables.

Why Should I Grow Parsnips?

There are plenty of reasons why growing parsnips is a fantastic idea. Not only are they a versatile and delicious addition to your meals, but they are also packed with nutrients. Parsnips are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, making them a healthy choice for your family.

Where is the Ideal Location to Grow Parsnips?

Parsnips thrive in cool climates, making the UK an ideal location for their cultivation. Choose a sunny spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Ensure the area is well-drained to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Soil Type and Preparing the Soil

Parsnips prefer a deep, loose, and fertile soil. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds and rocks. Dig the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches, incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and drainage.

Watering Tips and Hints

Parsnips require consistent moisture throughout their growing season. Water deeply once a week, providing around one inch of water. Be careful not to overwater, as this can cause the roots to rot. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Sowing and Planting Parsnips

Start by sowing parsnip seeds directly into the prepared soil in early spring. Sow the seeds about half an inch deep, spaced around 2 inches apart. Thin out the seedlings to 4-6 inches apart once they have developed their first true leaves.

How to Grow Parsnips from Seed

Parsnip seeds can take a while to germinate, often requiring up to three weeks. To speed up the germination process, soak the seeds in water overnight before sowing. This will soften the seed coat and encourage quicker sprouting.

How to Plant Out Parsnips

When the seedlings are around 3 inches tall, it’s time to transplant them into their final growing positions. Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the long parsnip roots and space the plants about 8-10 inches apart. Gently transplant the seedlings, taking care not to damage the roots.

General Care for Parsnips

Parsnips require minimal maintenance once established. Keep the area weed-free, as weeds can compete for nutrients and water. Regularly monitor the moisture levels in the soil and provide additional water during dry spells. Applying a balanced fertilizer once a month can also help promote healthy growth.

How to Harvest Parsnips

Parsnips are ready to harvest when the roots have reached the desired size, usually around 12-18 inches long. To harvest, gently loosen the soil around the base of the plant and carefully lift the parsnip from the ground. Avoid bruising or damaging the roots during this process.

How to Store Parsnips

Parsnips store well and can be kept for several months if stored properly. Remove the green tops, as they can cause the roots to go soft. Store the parsnips in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a root cellar or refrigerator. They can also be blanched and frozen for longer-term storage.

Problems in Growing Parsnips: Common Pests and Diseases

While parsnips are generally easy to grow, they can sometimes fall victim to pests and diseases. Common pests include carrot fly, aphids, and slugs. To deter pests, consider using row covers or companion planting with strong-smelling herbs such as rosemary or sage. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of disease, such as leaf spots or root rot, and promptly remove any affected plants.

Where to Buy Parsnips

You can find parsnip seeds or young seedlings at your local garden center or nursery. Alternatively, many online retailers offer a wide variety of parsnip seeds, including both traditional and heirloom varieties.

What are the Best Parsnip Varieties to Grow and Why?

Some popular parsnip varieties in the UK include ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Tender and True,’ and ‘White Gem.’ These varieties are known for their excellent flavor, high yields, and resistance to diseases. Experiment with different varieties to find the ones that suit your taste and growing conditions best.

What Tools Will I Need to Grow Parsnips?

Fortunately, growing parsnips doesn’t require any specialized tools. Here are a few basic gardening tools that will come in handy:

  • Garden fork or spade for soil preparation
  • Trowel for transplanting seedlings
  • Garden hose or watering can for irrigation
  • Garden rake for leveling the soil
  • Weeding tools for removing unwanted plants


Growing your own parsnips can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. With the right location, soil preparation, and care, you’ll soon be enjoying the bountiful harvest of these delicious root vegetables. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and get ready to savor the sweet and earthy flavors of homegrown parsnips!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I grow parsnips in containers?

A: Yes, parsnips can be grown in containers, but ensure the containers are at least 12 inches deep to accommodate the long roots.

Q: When is the best time to harvest parsnips?

A: Parsnips are typically harvested in late autumn or early winter, after the first frost, when their flavor is at its best.

Q: Can I grow parsnips in a greenhouse?

A: While parsnips prefer open ground, they can be grown in a greenhouse if you have sufficient space and provide adequate sunlight and ventilation.

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