Parsnip is a cool-weather biennial grown as an annual. Parsnips taste best if brought to harvest in cool weather. Sow parsnip seed directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. In warm-winter regions, parsnips can be planted in autumn.
Description. Parsnip is a creamy white root that grows from 4 to 9 inches long, similar to a carrot in appearance and tasty like a celery heart. The parsnip is a biennial grown as an annual. A rosette of celery like leaves grow from the top of the fleshy root.
Yield. Plant 10 parsnips per household member.
Site. Parsnips prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Grow parsnips in soil that has been turned to 12 inches deep where all lumps and rocks have been removed so that roots do not split and fork. Parsnip prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare planting beds two to three months in advance adding well-aged compost. Add manure only if it is aged; manure too fresh will cause root crops to fork.
Planting time. Parsnips require a long, cool growing season where the average temperature is between 45°F and 75°F. Parsnips will tolerate cold and freezing temperatures at both the start and end of their growing time. Sow parsnip seed directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring. In warm-winter regions, parsnips can be planted in autumn.