Prepare to Sow

Parsnips need sunny, well-drained soil that has been deeply worked. They do best in sandy loam or raised beds. To help aid germination, soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water. Drain before planting. Plant two weeks before last frost so as to be mature by late fall.

Step 1

How to Build a Parsnip Bed

Sowing Your Seeds

In preparation for sowing parsnips, place two 2x2 boards in a raised bed 18 inches apart, then, push down on the boards to make two perfectly straight rows.

Sow the Seed

To sow the parsnips, mark rows 18" apart using long wooden dowels or a broom handle. Plant two or three seeds 1/2" to 3/4" deep every two inches. Cover the seeds by pushing the soil back on top of them. Be sure to not compact the soil on top of the seeds as this can prevent them from germinating. Water seeds.

Step 2

How to Thin Your Parsnips

Thinning Your Parsnips

Use floral shears to snip off the tops of unwanted plants at ground level. You should thin your crop to one plant every 4". Cutting the tops off the plants will stifle their ability to continue producing food and energy. Pulling up the plant may disturb the remaining seed or damage the roots.

Thin the Parsnips

When parsnip seedlings emerge, thin to one plant every 4". It is important to thin the seedlings before crowding impairs their growth. Thin by cutting the tops off the young plants rather than by pulling them, which can disturb the remaining seedlings by damaging their roots.

Step 3

How to Water Your Parsnips

Watering Your Parsnips

Although parsnips are a hearty crop, they still need a good supply of water and prefer slightly damp ground. Make sure your parsnips get one inch of water every week, either from rain or from watering.

Harvest the Parsnips

Parsnips need a good supply of water and prefer very lightly damp soil. Make sure parsnips get 1" of water every week either from rain or by watering. Parsnips reach maturity in approximately 100 to 120 days. Harvest after the first frost or as the need arrives.