Growing Parsnips

How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Parsnips


Parsnips, popular with ancient Greeks and Romans, were brought over to the Americas with the first colonists. Although parsnips are biennials, they are usually grown as an annual vegetable. Here’s how to plant and grow parsnips in your garden!

Parsnips are a hardy, cool-season crop that is best harvested after a hard frost. Parsnips are not only tasty in soups and stews, but can also be enjoyed by themselves.

Planting Dates for PARSNIPS

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Planting Calendar for all Plants


  • Always sow fresh seed.
  • Parsnips need a long growing season, so sow as soon as the soil is workable.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 12-15 inches and mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • Sow 2 seeds per inch ½ an inch deep
  • Seedlings will emerge in 2-3 weeks


  • Thin the seedlings to stand 3-6 inches apart.
  • Water during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Always keep the beds free of weeds.


  • Aphids
  • Leaf Miners
  • Carrot Rust Flies
  • Parsnip Canker (all cultivars but ‘Tender and True’ are resistant to this)


  • Parsnips mature in about 16 weeks.
  • Leave your parsnips in the ground for a few frosts but harvest before the ground freezes.
  • If you leave them in the ground for the winter, cover them with a thick layer of mulch and harvest immediately after the ground thaws in the spring.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Fine words butter no parsnips.

Vegetable Gardener's Handbook


Growing Parsnips

Botanical Name Pastinaca sativa
Plant Type Vegetable
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil Type Loamy, Sandy
Soil pH Slightly Acidic to Neutral
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special Features