Avg seeds/pkt 450
Parsnips can be a bit of a party-trick: when soils have thawed, pull aside the thick layer of mulch to unearth tender, sweetened roots which matured the previous Fall. Or, just grow and harvest them in the same year. Tasty either way and only slightly fussy. Fresh seed is a must.
A couple of weeks after your average last frost date (or 4 months before your average first frost date) add 3 inches of screened, well-rotted compost and a granular, low-nitrogen fertilizer to deep, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Sow fresh seed in pairs, an inch apart and 1/2 inch deep in rows 24 inches apart. Keep soil moist. Plants emerge in 2 to 3 weeks.
When they’re 2 inches tall, thin to 4 inches by clipping rather than pulling seedlings. Mulch, and water regularly to keep soil cool and moist. At 60 days, hill up soil around stem to prevent light from greening up the “shoulders” below the crown. Side-dress with well-rotted compost and at 80 days, begin to reduce water to help prevent the root from splitting.
These parsnips mature in 120 days. Some say they’re sweetest just before the frost, others say leave them in the ground a few weeks more. To overwinter, mulch with a thick layer of clean straw.
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