Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Pastinaca sativa
(pah-sti-nah-cah sah-tee-vah)

parsnips parsnips parsnips

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

Parsnips are members of the Parsley family. This group includes carrot, celery, dill, caraway, and anise.

What is it used for?

Parsnips are grown for their edible root.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Parsnips enjoy a light soil that will not become compacted. Parsnips are slow to germinate. A heavy or cold soil will make seedling emergence difficult. Parsnips have a growing season of almost 4 months. Plant the seeds about 3 inches apart. Mix seed with a little radish seed; the radishes will help to make the rows and break the crust, and will be long gone by the time the parsnips are wady.

What are its primary problems?

Carrot weevils and carrot rust flies are sometimes a problem.

How do we harvest and store it?

Dig up the parsnips with a spade or a fork, Dig down to 10 inches so as not to disturb the root.

Your best bet is to store your parsnips in the garden in the winter. If you provide them with a heavy mulch, they will survive until the spring and should be picked at the earliest signs of green.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.