Parsnip Growing Guide

Pastinaca sativa


Crop Rotation Group

Umbelliferae (Carrot and root family) 


Light, deep, well-drained soil which has not had compost or manure added recently (to avoid forked roots forming.)


Sun or partial shade.

Frost tolerant



Not required.


Single Plants: 20cm (7") each way (minimum)
Rows: 20cm (7") with 30cm (11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Sow direct into soil when it has warmed up from mid spring onwards. Takes a couple of weeks to germinate.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Thin out when the seedlings are large enough to handle if they are too close. Weed carefully during early stages. Cover with mesh or fleece if carrot fly has been a problem in the past, although parsnips are less susceptible to this. Mulch to deter weeds and keep soil moist. Wearing gloves when handling parsnip foliage is recommended because the sap can occasionally cause blistering if the skin is exposed to direct sunlight after contact.


Use a garden fork to loosen soil along outside of the planting before pulling roots. Can be left in the soil through winter in many areas.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Parsnip

Plant Diseases which Affect Parsnip