Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa). Northern European relative of the carrot. Parsnip roots are long, white, and, after a hard frost or two, mild and sweet. Sow in early spring in most areas, as seed germinates best in cool weather, and is slow to germinate even under the best conditions. Traditionally, gardeners would plant the seed rather thickly, just barely covering, and sow some radish seeds in the row. The radishes sprout quickly, marking the row’s location while the parsnips are germinating; the radishes mature quickly and are pulled, leaving the row to the parsnips, which require the whole season. Plant parsnips in rich and very deeply worked soil, and allow plenty of space—8-12 inches apart is ideal. May be stored right in the garden all winter, or until the soil freezes. Old-fashioned crop that really deserves to be included in today’s gardens.

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