Growing Parsnips?

JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,481 admin

Two seasons ago I devoted 1 bed in my veggie garden to parsnips. In the past I hadn’t had much luck with germination (they are notorious for poor germination results) but this particular year, germination was a resounding success. So I thinned them out eventually & had a nice crop. They were the variety Hollow Crown.

So fast forward to now & that same bed, I have just realised has produced very little since. I’ve tried different crops, tomatoes, coriander, lettuce, cauliflowers etc. Nothing has died but nothing has thrived. I have topped up the bed with compost, I’ve mulched etc. I think I’m just about to pull everything out, top the whole bed with my excess garden soil mix I recently purchased & throw a mixture of a legume & say oats in that bed & see what happens. Make it a green chop crop, turn it back in & rest that bed for 6 months or so.

So my question is, do parsnips leave some kind of residue in the soil? Is there some kind of companion planting I should have considered? Do you think what I’m about to do next is a reasonable idea. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    @JodieDownUnder I planted the same variety last year. It also was ultra successful. I never thinned mine...well, I picked what we'd eat & "thinned" them in that way. 😋 Those roots were large and 2' long even into heavy clay! I was pleased. They are extremely expensive in the stores fir just a tiny amount.

    I don't know if it leaves anything in the ground. I've never been told one way or the other. I guess I will find out this year.

    I didn't companion plant anything with the parsnip. I'm sure I researched it. I am not sure if anything else would have much chance though. The tops were lush.

    Come to think of it, I did have volunteer cherry tomatoes growing by & in the rows, and some surprise volunteer potatoes. Both did well.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,407 admin

    I've never had any problems growing in beds that had parsnips in them previously. I rotate all our beds.

    We usually get a fair crop but the past two years have been almost nothing. 7 parsnip last year and I think only 3 the year before. That is out of a bed that is 3'x12'.

    I bought fresh seed both the past 2 years. Hollow Crown both times. Parsnip seed has to be fresh. Old seed just won't grow.

    Not sure what is recommended to grow with parsnips but you should avoid other members of the Apiaceae family. They share similar pests so they shouldn't be too close together.