February is the traditional month in which to plant parsnips.
Parsnips are a vegetable that have been grown, in their present form, for hundreds of years. They are tougher and less prone to pests and diseases than the majority of the vegetables that we now grow in our gardens.

The reason for planting parsnips early, is that this allow them a long growing season in which to get as large as possible: it is quite common to get parsnips over 18 inches long and weighing more than 2 lb (1 kg).

When growing parsnips, the aim is to produce plants with a single long, slender, tap root. Compacted r very stony soil tends to make the parsnip divide into several branches and these should therefore be avoided. Parsnips do well in soil in which potatoes were grown the year before.

Sow the seeds thinly in rows, 12 inches (30 cm) apart. Depending upon the weather, the seeds may take a few weeks to germinate. The seedlings will have to be thinned out so that there is about 6 inches (15 cm) between the plants, once they have two or three proper leaves. Keep the parsnip bed free of weeds during the spring and summer, mulch round the plants when they get bigger and you should get a large crop that you can start using next winter.


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