If you want to grow long, tapering parsnips, you’ll need deep, stone-free soil, well manured for a previous crop. Any reasonable soil in sun or light shade will grow good parsnips. Dig deeply in autumn or early winter and refrain from adding any fresh manure or compost. Break down clods and rake in Growmore fertiliser when you’re preparing the seedbed.

Sowing time

February – March.

Crop care

Thin out your parsnips when they reach 1” tall and throw the thinnings away. Hoe regularly to keep down weeds, taking care not to damage the crowns of the developing plants. This crop requires very little attention and is not usually attacked by pests. However, the soil should not be allowed to dry out, and you may need to water during prolonged periods of dry weather.


The roots are ready for harvesting when the foliage begins to die down in autumn (some people say that the flavour is enhanced after the first frosts). Lift your parsnips as required, using a fork to loosen the soil, and leave the rest in the soil for later harvesting.