How To Grow Enough Parsnips For A Year
Parsnips are a real treat. Most people only get to enjoy them during holidays, but you can easily grow enough parsnips that you can enjoy them all year long.
Once you figure out how many parsnips you would eat in a year, you can easily figure out how many to grow. On average, a 3m (10ft) long row of parsnips will produce around 30 or 40 parsnips. How many kilograms you get will depend greatly on how long your growing season is and how big you can grow them.
How many parsnips do you want to eat? How much garden space do you need to dedicate to them? We will answer these questions and more so you can grow enough parsnips to last you a whole year.
How Many Parsnips Do You Eat?
Most people do not eat many parsnips in a year. This is mostly because they are hard to find unless in the grocery stores unless it is a major holiday. And when you do find them, they can often be quite expensive. Growing your own parsnips is a great way to get around both of those obstacles. You can save your own parsnips to eat any time of the year, and they only cost the price of a packet of seeds. Of course, there is time and labour involved, but you cannot put a price on the quality of life you get from self-sufficient gardening.
For one person, cooking guides usually suggest 1 medium parsnip, or about 250g, for a meal. In our house, parsnips are very popular and this is not enough. If you only want parsnips for family holidays, you won’t need very many for the whole year. However, if you want to eat parsnips on other days, too, planning a few parsnips per person for each meal should be enough.
How Many Parsnips To Grow
A good way to estimate how many parsnips to grow is to count the seeds that you plant. Parsnips can be tricky to grow, mostly due to how hard it is to germinate the seeds. When planting your seeds, make sure you plant them about 1cm (1/2inch) apart because germination is very slow, and the seeds are easily chocked out by weeds. You ideally want your parsnips to grow so they are about 8cm to 10cm (3-4inches) apart. At this rate, you will grow between 30 and 40 parsnips in a 3m (10ft) row.
As a rule of thumb, a 6m (20ft) row will grow enough carrots for an average family for a year.
It is a lot more difficult to calculate how many kilograms you will grow in your garden. Many seed companies and gardening blogs calculate different yields for parsnips. The size the parsnips reach will vary greatly depending on your soil conditions, garden management, and the length of your growing season.
Increasing Your Yield
You can improve your parsnip yield by providing ideal growing conditions and helping them grow.
Extending your growing season will, in turn, grow bigger parsnips. Parsnips have a very long growing season from 110 to 150 days. They are very cold hardy and last into the late fall in the ground, but you can always start your parsnips indoors in grow bags or containers to extend your season. They can also be stated in empty toilet tubes similar to carrots.
Working the soil deeply will allow your parsnips to grow better. They can grow easier in loose soil and will grow larger than in heavy, compact soil. Parsnips do not require much fertilizer (and too much can actually be detrimental to their development), but a healthy amount of compost mixed into the soil prior to planting will help them thrive.
Keeping Parsnips Throughout The Year
Parsnips store very well in many different ways. They are stored similar to carrots and keep best between 0°C to 4°C (32°F-40°F) with around 90% humidity. Keeping them in the fridge works well for short-term storage. For long-term storage, they can be kept in a cold cellar or basement for several months, and can also be kept in the ground over winter in many areas. Here is a comprehensive article covering different ways to store parsnips.
Parsnips also freeze very well once they are lightly blanched for a ready-to-eat meal.
Because they are so cold hardy, parsnips will last in the ground late into the year. In many areas, they can be overwintered in the ground under a layer of straw. As a bonus, parsnips get sweeter after they have endured a few hard frosts.