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Parsnip Pastinaca sativa

Parsnips are hardy and easy to grow, but require a long growing season. Germination can also be slow, taking three to four weeks in some cases. For good, straight roots sow into shallow drills in stone-free soil from February. However, because of the slow germination, later sowings (until May) may be more successful. Root size depends upon spacing; for small roots space 10cm between plants, 20cm between rows, for larger roots increase spacing to 15cm with 30cm between rows. Lift as required when leaves begin to die.


‘Guernsey Half Long’ is (despite its name!) a French heirloom variety. It is more than 150 years old and documented by Thomas Webster and William Parks in their ‘Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy’ in 1855. In Europe parsnips were grown extensively for livestock feed and this variety was favoured by Guernsey farmers for being the most nutritious root known, superior even to the carrot and the potato.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

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