Parsnip Plotting By Michael Kelly of GIY Ireland

By Michael Kelly

This week I will be sowing my parsnips outside in the veg patch. Unlike carrots, they are relatively easy to grow (once you have persuaded them to germinate), and since they store well in the soil over the winter they are a valuable winter storage crop.  I grow around 40 parsnips which is more than enough to keep us happy between around November (when we start hankering for root crops) and next March.  To do this I need to allocate around 2m of growing space (in a standard bed you will get three rows of parsnips).
Though I practice mainly a no-dig type of growing I always put a bit of work in to the root crop bed (where carrots and parsnips will be sown) – I start by turning over the soil with a fork (to a depth of a foot) which I think is the key to a decent crop since the roots can descend in to the soil happily, with no obstructions such as hard soil or stones to thwart their growth.  I then rake the soil well to even it off before sowing and break up and large clods of soil.
Most parsnip seed packets will tell you to sow them in February - don't do it.  Far better to leave it until around now when germination will be more reliable thanks to warmer weather.   To sow, make a drill 2cm deep – if soil is dry, dampen.  Sow one seed every 5cm in rows 30cm apart and cover in with soil.  Germination takes up to three weeks.  When seedlings appear, thin to 10cm apart for medium sized parsnips.  Once you have sown them...READ MORE
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