Parsnips, the Pastinaca sativa, is a type of tuber plant that looks like a carrot. You might be familiar with this plant if you a fan of root veggies. It has a texture that resembles a sweet potato. You can taste a distinct sweetness when you bite into it, but it is also a bit spicy with a hint of earthy flavor.
A unique root veggie! But, do you know how to grow parsnips from seed?
Parsnip is highly rich in vitamin C, which helps maintain the immune system and promotes healthy skin, teeth, and gums.
It is also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that can ward off free radicals that can cause cancer. They are also high in fiber, which is great for smoothing our digestion.
Many gardeners say that parsnip is very difficult to grow if you start from the seeds. However, that’s not entirely true because, in fact, this plant is easy to grow if you are planting it right. Moreover, this plant can grow in almost every region.
If you want to know how to grow parsnips from seed reliably, you’ll need to learn some of these tricks!
Preparing a planting site
This plant will grow well if you use loose soil. It is also the perfect plant to grow in open fields with soil that is fertile and rich in nutrients. You can add compost to enhance the soil, so it is better for parsnips.
You also have to ensure that your plot of land is weed-free because you do not want weeds competing with your plant for nutrients. And make sure the soil is free of stones too. After all, parsnip is a tuberous plant. Stones or hard soil can inhibit the growth of the roots of this plant.
You can use a container to grow parsnip if you don’t have enough land. However, this is not recommended because root growth will be limited as there won’t be enough room to grow freely.
If you use a boxed container or polybags for seeding, you will have to move it to a wider place later. Unfortunately, when you replant the seedlings, there is a chance of shocking or stressing the roots. If you don’t want the hassle of moving your young parsnips, you’ll need to use a very large container.
Alternatively, a compostable pot would be better and more practical. You simply put it in the ground without needing to move it out from the compostable pot. The plant will grow freely because the pot will not bother the roots as it degrades.
Use fresh seeds
If your parsnip seeds fail to germinate, there is a good chance that the quality of the seeds is not good in the first place. This is the most important tip that you have to really pay attention to. You should use fresh seeds to start growing parsnips.
The seeds of this plant lose their ability to germinate quickly. The shelf life of the parsnip seeds should not exceed one year.
Therefore, after the seed age reaches one year, the seeds will not germinate properly. They won’t be able to develop into seedlings. So, if you purchased the seed last year, you cannot use them anymore. Please use a new one.
If you want to buy seeds, be sure to get them at a reputable store. Do not forget to check the listed expiry date!
Parsnip seeds will grow faster if you soak them before sowing. You can let the seeds get submerged for 24 hours. Do not forget to change the water twice.
Now let’s start the growing process!
After preparing the ingredients above, this is the part we have been waiting for
1. Plant parsnip seed
Prepare your nursery seedbed! You need to make holes around 1.5 cm deep and give the distance between the holes around 8 – 10 cm. Then sprinkle 3- 5 seeds in every hole that you have made.
Make sure the plants get enough sunlight. Put them in a place that receives at least 6 – 8 hours of sunlight daily. Parsnips can tolerate shady conditions, but the plant growth rate will be significantly reduced.
Keep the soil moist. Do not let them dry out! But do not let it get too wet. Also, watch out for weeds that may interfere with the growth of your plants. Get rid of them quickly!
Parsnips take a long time to germinate. In ideal temperatures around 15°C – 25°C, the seeds take about 2 – 4 weeks to grow. So don’t be too impatience if you do not see any changes in your seeds overnight. You need to patiently wait for the first leaf to sprout!
You have to keep watering your seeds for good germination. When the plants have started to grow an inch or so, they can take care of themselves. Once they are big enough, they don’t need extra maintenance. There is no need to water them regularly, except when conditions are really dry.
Plants will not grow well if they do not get enough nutrition. You can put grass clippings or mulch between plants to give parsnips extra nutrients throughout the season.
2. Transplanting parsnip
If you use a container or polybag, you should move the young parsnip plant after sprouts appear. After the seeds germinate, you can wait 1 – 2 weeks before transferring them to a wider area.
You need to have impeccable timing to transplant parsnips. Being late is not an option. After all, this plant has a taproot. If you leave it too long, the roots will get longer, and moving them will be more challenging. Transplanting young plants in this condition will be riskier as the roots might get damaged.
3. Harvesting the parsnip
Different parsnip varieties will ripen at different times. They begin to be ready to harvest at least when the roots are about an inch in diameter. It is usually taken for 95 – 140 days.
Do not worry if your Parsnips get stuck in winter. This plant is one of the species that are resistant to cold weather. Instead, we suggest leaving them in the winter. If you let the parsnips grow in cold conditions, they will become sweeter due to the accumulation of sugar content. In fact, we encourage you to grow them this coming winter!
To get all the parsnip roots perfectly, loosen the soil with a garden fork before harvesting. Once the soil is loosened, you can slowly remove the parsnips from the soil.
Before storage, the tops of the plants should be cut off, and any soil should be cleaned as this can accelerate parsnip decay. It can last in storage for 8 – 16 weeks.
This method is the best if you have ever wondered how to grow parsnips from seeds! Even though it takes a long time to grow, your effort to grow parsnip will be worth it once the harvest comes!
Now that you have learned how to grow parsnips from seed, it is time to learn how to grow eggplant!