How To Grow Parsnips in Australia

Quick Guide: Growing Parsnips in Australia

  • Optimal Growing Temperatures: Between 6°C and 21°C.
  • Ready to Harvest: 17-20 weeks after planting.
  • Space Between Plants: Plant 8-10 cm apart.
  • Companion Plants: Potatoes, Beans, Radishes
  • Plants to Avoid: Carrot, Celery
  • Plant Type: Seed.

When to Plant Parsnips in Australia

Australia Map


Parsnips are not recommended to grow in the Tropical regions.This includes areas like Cairns, Darwin, and Broome.

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For the Subtropical region, parsnips can be planted from June to September. Cities in the Subtropical region include Brisbane, Central Coast, and Sydney.

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Parsnips can be planted from August to November in the Temperate regions of Australia. Cities in the Temperate region include Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Perth.

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For the Cool region, parsnips can be planted from September to November. Cities in the Cool region include alpine regions of Victoria and Tasmania.

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Best planting months for parsnips in the Arid region are April to November.

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Getting Started with Parsnip Cultivation

Are you ready to embark on your parsnip-growing journey in Australia? Let's dive into the essential steps for successful parsnip cultivation. From selecting the right varieties to sowing the seeds, this section will guide you through the process.

Selecting the Right Varieties

When it comes to parsnips, there are several varieties to choose from. Consider the growing conditions in your region and select a variety that thrives in the Australian climate. Some popular parsnip varieties suitable for Australian gardens include:



Hollow Crown

A classic variety with long, tapered roots and sweet flavour.


Produces smooth, uniform roots and has excellent disease resistance.

Tender & True

Known for its high yield and sweet, nutty flavour.

Choose a variety based on your personal taste preferences and the characteristics that suit your garden. For more information on growing other root vegetables, check out our articles on how to grow yams, how to grow turnips, or how to grow salsify.

Preparing the Soil for Parsnips

Before planting parsnips, it's crucial to prepare the soil properly. Parsnips prefer loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Follow these steps to prepare the soil:

  1. Begin by removing any weeds or debris from the planting area.
  2. Dig the soil to a depth of around 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) to ensure it is loose and friable.
  3. Incorporate well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil to improve its fertility and moisture-retaining abilities.
  4. Rake the soil to create a smooth and level surface for planting.

By providing your parsnips with fertile soil, you'll give them the best start for healthy growth. Remember, parsnips are root vegetables, so loose soil is essential for their development.

Planting and Sowing Parsnip Seeds

Parsnips are typically grown from seeds since they have a long taproot that can be challenging to transplant. Follow these steps to sow your parsnip seeds:

  1. Sow the seeds directly into the prepared soil, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart and ½ inch (1.25 cm) deep.
  2. Leave approximately 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) between rows to allow for proper growth and development.
  3. Gently water the soil after sowing to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

Parsnip seeds can take up to 2-3 weeks to germinate, so be patient. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out to provide adequate space for the remaining plants. Aim for a spacing of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) between the seedlings.

Now that you have selected the right varieties, prepared the soil, and sowed the seeds, your parsnips are on their way to a healthy growth journey. In the next section, we will explore the care and maintenance required to ensure your parsnips thrive in your organic garden.

Caring for Parsnips

Once you have successfully planted your parsnips, it's important to provide them with proper care to ensure healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. This section will guide you through the key aspects of caring for your parsnip plants, including watering and moisture needs, mulching and weed control, and fertilising parsnips.

Watering and Moisture Needs

Parsnips require consistent moisture to develop properly, especially during germination and root development. Water your parsnip plants regularly, aiming to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. It's important to strike a balance, as excessive water can lead to root rot and poor growth.

To determine when to water, check the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, it's time to water. Provide deep watering to ensure the moisture reaches the root zone. Remember to water the plants at ground level, avoiding wetting the foliage, as this can encourage disease.

During dry periods, you may need to increase the frequency of watering. Monitor the moisture levels closely to prevent the soil from drying out. Be mindful not to overwater, as this can lead to issues like root splitting and disease. Adjust your watering schedule based on the specific needs of your parsnip plants.

Mulching and Weed Control

Mulching is an effective technique to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain more consistent soil temperatures. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around your parsnip plants. This will help retain moisture in the soil, reduce weed competition, and regulate soil temperature fluctuations.

Before applying mulch, ensure that the soil is moist. Spread a layer of mulch about 2-3 inches thick around the base of the plants, taking care to keep it away from the stems. Mulching also helps prevent soil crusting, which can obstruct the emergence of young parsnip seedlings.

While mulch helps suppress weeds, it's important to regularly inspect your parsnip bed for weed growth. Remove any weeds promptly to minimise competition for nutrients and water. Be cautious when weeding, as parsnip roots are delicate and can be easily damaged.

Fertilising Parsnips

Parsnips are generally low-maintenance plants when it comes to fertilisation. However, it's still important to provide them with adequate nutrients to support healthy growth. Incorporate organic matter, such as well-rotted compost or aged manure, into the soil before planting. This will improve soil fertility and provide a slow release of nutrients over time.

Avoid using excessive amounts of nitrogen-rich fertilisers, as they can promote lush foliage growth at the expense of root development. Instead, focus on maintaining a balanced nutrient profile in the soil. You can periodically supplement with a balanced organic fertiliser, following the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and timing.

Remember to avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth and reduced root quality. Regularly monitor the health and growth of your parsnip plants to determine if additional fertilisation is necessary.

By providing proper care to your parsnips through watering, mulching, and fertilising, you can ensure optimal growth and a successful harvest. Stay diligent in monitoring the moisture levels, weed growth, and nutrient requirements of your parsnip plants. With a little care and attention, you'll soon be enjoying the delicious rewards of your homegrown parsnips.

Dealing with Common Issues

Growing parsnips in your organic garden may come with a few challenges. In this section, we will discuss some common issues you may encounter and how to deal with them effectively. From pests and diseases to companion planting and harvesting and storing, let's explore these topics.

Pests and Diseases

Parsnips are generally hardy plants, but they can still face some common pests and diseases. The table below outlines the potential issues you may encounter and how to address them:



Prevention and Control

Carrot fly

Small flies that lay eggs near the plant

* Planting parsnips away from carrots and other susceptible crops * Using physical barriers such as fine mesh netting to keep flies away * Regularly inspecting the plants for signs of infestation


Small insects that suck sap from the plant

* Attracting natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings * Using insecticidal soap or neem oil if necessary * Regularly spraying plants with water to dislodge aphids

Cavity spot

Brown, sunken spots on the roots

* Ensuring proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil * Providing adequate spacing between plants for good air circulation * Avoiding overwatering and excessive nitrogen fertilisation

Companion Planting for Parsnips

Companion planting is an effective way to enhance the growth and health of your parsnips while promoting biodiversity in your garden. Here are some companion plants that can benefit your parsnip crop:

  • Radishes: Planting radishes alongside parsnips can help repel pests like carrot flies and improve soil conditions.
  • Celeriac: Celeriac acts as a natural insect repellent, deterring pests that may damage parsnips.
  • Burdock: Burdock can help improve the overall health of parsnips while attracting beneficial insects.

Harvesting and Storing Parsnips

Knowing when and how to harvest parsnips is essential to ensure optimum flavor and quality. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Harvesting: Parsnips are ready for harvest when the roots reach their full size and the foliage starts to die back. Gently loosen the soil around the roots and lift them out with a garden fork.
  • Storing: After harvesting, remove excess soil and trim the tops, leaving about an inch of green stem. Store parsnips in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place, such as a cellar or refrigerator. They can last for several weeks when stored properly.

For more information on harvesting and storing parsnips, refer to our articles in our A-Z guides

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