If you’re searching for something that can deal with the cold, the parsnip is the vegetable of choice. Unfortunately, it’s a reputation similar to the turnip as something not worth eating. What many people don’t realize is that parsnips possess a sweet and creamy flavor and are perfect on their own, whether roasted, boiled, mashed, sautéed or roasted. They’re also good mixed with potatoes.
Most importantly, these veggies are hardy. They taste much sweeter after the first frost and may be saved in a cool, moist place for several months. They can even be left in the ground until you are ready to cook them in a savory fall or winter dish.
More: How to grow cool-season plants
When to plant: Late winter, early spring or autumn
Days to maturity: 90 to 130
moderate condition: Full sun or partial shade
Water necessity: Frequent
Favorites: Albion, Half-Long Guernsey, Hollow Crown, Javelin, Lancer
Planting and care: Much like their carrot relatives, parsnips need a fine soil that is free of lumps or stone. Split the soil at least 1 1/2 feet deep and till in sand and fine compost a few weeks before planting.
The seeds themselves are tiny and fine; pellated seeds are a fantastic choice, as they won’t blow away quite as easily. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart; thin seedlings to 3 inches apart. Maintain the soil consistently moist and also the area around the plants weed free. Mulching will help maintain moisture and keep weeds down. Potential pests include armyworms, cabbage root maggots, flea beetles, leafhoppers and nematodes.
Harvest: Dig up roots with a scoop or a spading fork, then store them in a cool, moist place. If you want to leave them in the floor through a cold winter, then pay them with a foot of hay or straw to keep the ground from freezing. Mark with tall bets so you can find them when the snow falls. From the coldest climates, it is much better to harvest the roots until the ground freezes and store them.