Tag Archive : growing parsnips

/ growing parsnips

A photo of three parsnips

Usually, Seedy Saturday (or Sunday) is in March in our nearest town. Seedy Saturday is a really cool event – in our town, there are speakers, seed and garden vendors, a few activities for the kids, and some information tables about permaculture, composting, local environmental initiatives, and such. It’s held in the basement of our local library, and one of the neat offshoots of the event is that our book library now also has a seed library – a filing cabinet full of donated seeds that people can take, grow out, and later replace with seeds they’ve saved.

With the kids being little, and not very patient, our ventures into Seedy Saturday have been brief, and we haven’t been able to stay for the speakers or activities. This year, the kids are a bit bigger, and have more of an attention span. We hummed and hawed about whether or not to go, though, since I’ve already ordered more garden seeds than we really need, and it’s a long drive into town, plus it’s -30 today, which saps everyone’s motivation to leave the house!


…but there is the Parsnip Lady.

Last year, one of the vendors (Prairie Garden Seeds) talked us into trying parsnips. We followed her advice, and the parsnips did very well in our garden. We had a good harvest, and found several ways to cook them that we really enjoy – even the kids enjoy their ‘parsnippitys’ (as our youngest has dubbed them).

Unfortunately, parsnip seeds don’t last very well. From what I’ve read, germination goes way down even after just one year. I want to grow a lot of parsnips this year, since we enjoyed them so much, and they should keep for a while in the root cellar. We weren’t able to save seeds from the parsnips last year, because parsnips are biennial – they grow big roots the first year, then flower and set seed the second year.

The lady from Prairie Garden Seeds told us that one of her varieties of parsnip (the Short Thick) can be overwintered right in the garden, even in zone 2, with a bit of protection. We dumped a couple of bales of straw over the end of the parsnip row last fall, and hopefully, they will have survived the brutal cold, and will grow and flower for us this summer. Meanwhile, we needed to buy seed if we are going to plant the Short Thick parsnips again this year, as I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else.

So, we packed up and headed in to Seedy Saturday. One $4 packet of parsnip seed later, we were ready to go…except there is no such thing as just buying one packet of seed. The Prairie Garden Seeds lady talked us into trying melons this year…so we’ll see how that goes! I also picked up a couple of books, bringing the total up significantly. I’m glad we went, though, and now I’ve got parsnip seeds to overwinter again, to tide us over until this year’s seed crop is ready (which will hopefully work out okay!)

A handful of seed packets from Prairie Garden Seeds

By Jess