How to plant parsnip

Parsnip sativa

Parsnip, also known as parsnip, cherovia or cherivia, is a plant whose roots are usually eaten boiled, fried or roasted, although they can also be eaten raw. In most cultivars, the roots look like white carrots, although there are some cultivars whose roots have a more rounded shape.

Much cultivated in Europe in ancient times, its cultivation lost importance with the introduction of potato cultivation. It was also used as a source of sugar in Europe before growing sugar beet and sugar cane.


Parsnip is suitable for cultivation in regions where it is cold in winter, as low temperatures can improve the flavor of the roots, making them sweeter. However, it can be grown in regions with a subtropical climate in the months of mild climate.


Parsnip is best grown in sunny places, but can tolerate partial shade with good light.


Grow in well-drained, light, deep soil, without stones and other debris, fertile and rich in organic matter. It is not necessary for the soil to be rich in nitrogen.


Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked.


Parsnips are planted in temperate regions in the spring, as early as the weather conditions allow. In warmer regions that have a mild winter, planting can be done in early autumn.

The planting is done by seeds, which should preferably be sown in the final location, as the seedlings do not tolerate the transplant well. If sown in seed, transplanting should be done as early as possible, taking care not to damage the seedling root. The seeds should be approximately 1.5 cm deep.

The recommended spacing is 30 cm between the planting lines, with 15 cm between the plants for larger roots, or 7 cm for smaller roots.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Parsnip sap can cause phytophotodermatitis on the skin, so people who are going to handle the plants should use adequate protection to prevent skin contact with the plant’s sap.


The parsnip harvest in cold climates is usually carried out in autumn or winter, preferably after a period of low temperatures and the occurrence of frosts (low temperatures promote the conversion of starch into sugar). In other regions, harvesting can be done 120 to 180 days after planting, depending on the cultivar.

The roots can be left in the soil and harvested as needed until early spring. In regions where the winter is very harsh, a layer of straw or sawdust can be placed over the soil to prevent it from freezing, which would make it difficult to remove the roots from the soil.

Parsnip is a biannual plant, producing flowers and seeds in the second year. The roots, however, become woody in the second year, so they must be harvested before the plant sprouts again.

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