Grow your own Parsnips from seed


Our own parsnips pulled

 in October one year

Parsnips just pulled

Parsnips with bad canker

Parsnips with canker

Growing parsnips from seed is really easy but because they have a long growing period they are subject to canker - the brown tinged discolouration of the skin.


A couple of do not's apply to growing parsnips and carrots: Do Not sow your seeds in an area which has recently been fertilised and Do Not sow in an area which has been recently composted.


The pair you see in the photo here are straight from our own garden and are canker free.


Effectively then, to grow parsnips successfully it is best to plant them later than most of your other seeds to avoid them being in the soil too long. They will catch up so there's no need to worry about them being planted too late.


I plant mine in April and as you can see from the photo they are huge and the larger one of the pair is 17 inches long.The picture below shows parsnips with serious canker blight, and of course they are inedible, but most gardeners find that their canker is only a brownish tinge which can be scraped off before cooking or freezing.

Do not plant parsnip seeds in soil which has been recently treated with manure or fertiliser or they will Parsnip grown in compostfork, grow multiple legs and generally look as if they were born near Sellafield.

Storing parsnips


Absolutely the best way of storing parsnips is to leave them in the ground until needed. They can be dug and eaten from September onwards in most of England but they will taste better after a good hard frost as the frost alters the make up of this vegetable which makes it sweeter.


NB: Leave your parsnips in the ground until needed, and they will be safe there until next Spring. However, they will not grow after that first frost.


We recommend that you purchase hybrid seeds which have a certain amount of resistance to parsnip canker.