Sue Foster says: "The first parsnip I grew - and what a fantastic crop! This canker resistant variety produces long, smooth roots that are delicious roasted and makes phenomenal Parsnip and Ginger soup. After a couple of frosts the flavour is exceptional, and they keep in the ground for an impressive length of time without turning woody."
Direct sow parsnip seeds outdoors from April to May to produce quality roots with less risk of canker damage. Avoid sowing in cold or wet soils. Grow parsnips in a sunny position in stone-free, well prepared soil that has been deeply cultivated. Parsnips prefer a fertile, light, well drained soil, which has been manured for a previous crop.
Sow parsnip seeds thinly at a depth of 2cm (¾in) in drills 30cm (12") apart. Germination is slow and may take up to 28 days. When large enough to handle, thin out the seedlings within each row to 7cm (3in) apart or 10cm (4") apart if larger roots are required.
Water well to encourage germination. Once germinated, parsnips should be watered only when necessary to keep the soil moist. Keep beds weed free at all times.
Harvest parsnips from October through to January, as and when required. However, their flavour will be sweeter if they are left in the ground as winter approaches. Alternatively lift and store parsnips in boxes of barely moist soil, peat or sand, and store in a cool place. Roots can be stored like this for up to 4 months. Loosen the soil around the roots with a fork before lifting them to avoid damaging the roots. Leaves will die off during winter, so put a short cane by each root so you can easily find them again to lift.
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