Albion Online – How To Make Boatloads of Silver

Posted on: July 27, 2017 / Categories: MMO Guides Twitter Facebook Reddit Email

How do I get silver?

There are three main ways to accrue currency, outside of purchasing it with Gold, in Albion Online. Trading, Gathering/Crafting and killing mobs. The easiest of these for new players will undoubtedly be killing mobs so we’ll cover that first.

Killing Mobs

Silver is primarily dropped from humanoid mobs out in the world, hunting the areas ranked T2 or higher looking for rare resource spawns and high-value mobs is the bread and butter of the beginning player. Starting out, you’ll want to do a few things before you even consider gathering, trading or crafting for wealth.

The number one thing you should do is get your first Donkey mount. Using a mount will vastly increase the amount of weight you can carry while riding said mount, so using them on gathering runs is a must to bring back hundreds of kilograms of loot per run. Here’s a basic breakdown of the differences between the three mount types. But just for simplicity, assume that horses are fastest, Ox carry the most weight, and Donkey exist as a trade-off between the two. Once you get your Donkey go ahead and complete all of the starting zone quests, these will help you get a bit of starting Silver as well.

You’ll want to maximize your play time in Albion Online for peak efficiency. So Opportunity Cost will be a huge factor in deciding what resources to farm and which mobs to kill. Early on, you should just be focusing on rushing your tools to Journeyman ASAP. These tool upgrades will vastly improve the speed of farming T1-T3 materials, and you’ll be able to build a decent stockpile of these basic resources for later at the same time.

The next thing you should consider is optimum routes from resource runs to home. You goal here is to find an area that has high value, but minimizes both travel time and competition. The starting zones have quite a few areas with multiple resources in a short circuit. So look for areas where while you’re hitting one resource, another in the circuit is respawning. Finding high density areas with a lower concentration of players but also a high concentration of resources will be tough. So expect competition even in Friendly zones. People will consistently try to snipe high-value resources, so be on the lookout and have alternate paths you can take if another path you like is being hoarded.

Mobs and resources are constantly spawning in the world, and the loot contained by mobs will continue to grow the longer they are alive, this means that most mob spawns in highly trafficked areas will be quite bad for maximizing silver income from farming mobs. So stick to less traveled areas when hunting Silver from mob drops. You could also time your farming in certain areas when there are fewer players online.

Facts of life when farming mobs:
* Travel, freshly spawned mobs have the least amount of silver. Often territories that are perceived as too dangerous have the best rewards.
* Mobs that have been alive for a long time often carry up to 20 times the amount of silver of freshly spawned mobs
* Only wear what you can afford to lose, you should be coming home with more silver than the value of what you left home with.
* Group up! Find a Guild or some other Solo players and group up with them! Even just 2 players together can take on much harder mobs.
* Look on the world map! Find the closest treasure territories, they are often a good source of silver.

General Tips

Finding a vendor or building that has a very low tax is a key to saving money. Sometimes it can be hard to find especially after the official game release since people are going to increase tax a lot.

You should not sell your gear at all cost if your aim is to progress crafting. There are a lot of players out there trying to sell their equipment through live chat or auction house. It is a quick way to make some silver, but your crafting progression can be heavily hindered as well.


The process of farming is a primary part of the economic engine of Albion Online. Farms allow players to grow food and animals to feed other production buildings; these materials can also be used in other Crafting Recipes and Cooking. Here’s where the chart porn starts.

But fruits and veg aren’t the only thing you’ll be growing. There’s tons of Animals to grow on your farms as well.

Your farm is located on your private island so you need to buy one. To do this your character must have premium status. (Once bought you won’t loose it when your premium status expires!)

You buy the island from a NPC in a city. Which city is up to you but be aware that ideally you visit your farm once a day so choose the city where your guild has its island or near the main guild territory. This way you can get your items to market or storage faster.

Once in this city you need to find the island merchant:

You’ll really want to upgrade your island to level 2 as quickly as possible, this will cost you 25,000 Silver up front. So aim for that amount with mob farming or Gold Selling before you even consider going into farming in Albion Online.

Island Buying

After you’ve purchased and upgraded your island, the next step is building your plots. Head to the northwest corner of your island to find your first plot. Open up the build menu, and build the Farm under the Farming tab.

Farming Plot

When you start with farming you can either buy carrot or bean seed. You can place 9 seeds on your plot so you should at least have another 9,000 Silver for carrots to start. Once you’re setup with your plot, it’s time to buy seeds.

Buying Seed

It’s at this point that you’ll have to start considering what to plant. This is the point where market conditions become vitally important. Depending on how long after launch you’re starting up with farming, you’ll want to check the market for both seeds and the finished product that they grow into.

Every crop has a “Projected Seed Yield” meaning the chance you have to get a seed back when you harvest the crop. When you water the plant your chances get higher this doesn’t stop at 100% as you can get more than one seed back. You can get 200% yield with enough watering.

Crop Yield Example

You pay for this with Focus. At the beginning the cost is 1000 Focus/plant. This Focus cost goes down the more you plant a crop. On your Destiny Board you have a skill for every crop that increases every time you harvest that crop.

The outcome of your crops is determined primarily by RNG, watering frequency and whether or not you have a premium account. Premium users get 6-12 food items per crop, normal users only get 3-7.

I would also recommend creating a simple spreadsheet that has a listing for each crop and the outcome for minimum peak yields attached for each crop. Then you can just plug in market values for each crop and calculate if there is any profit in growing a certain crop.

Seeds And Crop Basics

The process of selection for the best crops to plant is generally a function of value over time. In the beginning you should decide just how much active time you want to invest in your crop beds. As you just started, focus on the cheaper crops and playing the bubble of the early launch periods. There is a lot of Silver to be made in riding the wave of popularity that a surge of new players creates. The key though is getting off before the price starts dropping.

There are of course multiple other aspects of money making relating to farming and cooking.

Raising Animals

Farming also allows you to raise animals starting by building a pastor on a farming plot. Once constructed, you will be ready to raise animals. First, you need to purchase baby chickens from a farming merchant.

After that, place them on a pastor. It is recommended to feed them with crops from your harvest. Then, you need to wait for them to grow. When an animal is mature, it will produce a baby. You can, then, right click a baby and use them again to grow an animal.

You can also pick up the fully grown animal which can later be butchered or used as mount depending on an animal. Some animals such as chicken can be left on a pastor to provide eggs which are an important ingredient for cooking.

Cooking Specializations

There are currently 8 different cooking specializations which can be changed upon game release.

  • Butcher – Create raw meat from animals
  • Miller – Create bread or butter
  • Sandwich Chef – Create sandwich which increases maximum health for a long period of time
  • Stew Chef – Create stew which increases combat damage for a long period of time
  • Pie Check – Create pie which increases maximum load and gathering speed for a long period of time
  • Omelet Chef – Create omelet which reduces cooldown and casting time for a long period of time
  • Salad Chef – Crete salad which increases crafting speed and quality for a short period of time
  • Soup Chef – Create soup which increases health regeneration outside of combat for a long period of time

You can specialize all of them if you wish. However, it is recommended to only specialize in only a couple of specific types due to a high amount of required fame to level them. Once you decide on your cooking specialization, you need to cook required dish to progress that specialization.

For now let’s end this section with some basics about Focus and Gold.

Selling Gold

Sell that starter Gold ASAP. Buying a Starter pack grants you some Gold, and prices will be very volatile in these first few months of open release, use that to your advantage. If you feel comfortable trading, try speculating on the price of Gold long-term. But the easiest move for new players is simply to list the Gold they get from Founder Packs at a higher margin than market, and set the listing for 1 month. This way you can maximize profit over a longer timescale. I’d recommend selling half of your Gold long-term, and keeping the rest to take advantage of price spikes. This means keeping a close eye on the Gold market every time you log in. Prices will shift quite a bit as more people sell their Gold, so weigh your need for 100K-200K Silver now versus more later during price spikes.

Focus and RRR

Focus and RRR

Focus is a bonus that players can use to massively improve crafting speeds and yields. RRR is Resource Return Rate, which dictates how much of your investment of materials is returned to you when crafting completes. For example, crafting in a town will result in a resource return rate of 15%. If you were to use 100 cotton to craft 100 linen, then you would receive a refund of 15 cotton. Crafting with Crafting Focus enabled increases the resource return rate. Crafting Focus will max out at 30,000 points and regenerates over time, even when you are logged out. The recovery rate is increased with a premium account allowing for a gain of 10,000 focus per day. The table below illustrates the default resource return rate before enabling crafting focus and with focus enabled.

Zone RRR With Focus
Starter Towns 0 35%
Player and guild Islands 0 35%
Towns 15% 45%
Black zone territories 20% 48%

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I’m really pleased with the germination of my parsnips. They have a reputation for being trickier than a politician in an election campaign, but I’ve managed to get two decent rows of seedlings growing and can’t wait until the long white roots are ready to harvest in a few month’s time.

There are five keys to growing parsnips. The first is relatively poor, loose soil. Like carrots, parsnips have a tendency to go a bit haywire if they’re growing in soil that’s too fertile or too compacted. To get conditions just right, I plant them after brassicas or another hungry crop has taken up most of the nutrients in the soil, and I fork the soil over thoroughly. I never add fertiliser before sowing parsnips.

The second key is to sow very fresh seed. If it’s more than a year old, forget about it. The closer to freshly harvested the better, so avoid packets of parsnip seed sitting on supermarket shelves and get the freshest seed possible from a good mail order supplier or local seed saver. I managed to get one month old seed from a local veg grower, and the germination rate has been excellent. Don’t even bother trying to sow into punnets as parsnips hate being transplanted.

Third, keep the seed bed evenly moist until germination occurs. Parsnips are notoriously slow to germinate. Sown into warm soil at the tail end of summer, they can take as little as a week, but as the weather cools, germination might take as long as three, or even four weeks. The trick is keep the moisture consistent for the entire time, so I like to cover the seedbed with shadecloth until the first set of seed leaves appear. Patience is a virtue when growing parsnips!

Fourth, control weeds and keep the moisture as a consistent as possible during the growing process. If there are rapid fluctuations between dry and wet, the roots have a tendency to split lengthways, allowing rot to enter and ruin the crop. Weeds are easily controlled by hand weeding until the seedlings are growing strongly, then applying a layer of mulch.

The final thing you need to consider is when, and where to plant. Parsnips love a good frost, and therefore do best in cold temperate areas, where seed can be sown any time from September to March. In subtropical and warm temperate climates, the plants are best grown through winter – sow in late summer to late autumn. In other words, it’s last call for parsnip sowing until spring, so get a crop in now and reap the rewards in the form of deliciously sweet, roasted spring roots.

By: Justin Russell

First published: May 2012


Your comments and tips

Post a comment or question Display Newest first | Oldest first, Show comments for New Zealand | for all countries 27 Jul 19, Karen (New Zealand – temperate climate) So is there any particular seeds best to buy parsnips for brand . Karen 26 Mar 19, Clarkee (New Zealand – sub-tropical climate) I wonder, if I sow Swiss Chard (above it says a good companion to parsnips) then once the card reaches a height that shades the soil around it, I then sow the parsnips amongst the chard, will that keep the soil cool and less likely to dry out for my parsnip seeds to germinate? 12 Nov 18, Alison (New Zealand – sub-tropical climate) With regard to the parsnips I would recommend you try germination before planting them. Lay the seed on paper hand towel or similar. Lay seeds onto paper and cover with another paper towel. Dampen paper and keep moist (I’m thinking a sprayer would be a good idea). After 3-4 weeks there should be tiny roots forming. Using tweezers to handle seeds, transfer them to the soil bed you have prepared. Now, I haven’t done this (by some fluke my seeds germinated and I have three small rows at different stages!) but I will next year. Successful gardening! 01 Dec 17, Jos Dekker (New Zealand – temperate climate) (i) When you purchase your seed, make sure it is within the stipulated “use by date” (ii) Prepare bed or row by loosening the soil to a minimum depth of 20 c.m. (iii) Soak seed in lukewarm water overnight. (iv) I do not sow seeds in singles but use a “scatter” method and thin out plants later (v) Mix seeds with a small quantity of very friable earth and scatter in your row or bed. (vi) I don’t particularly like the covering with a plank method to stop drying out but prefer putting a shade to keep the sun off whilst seeds are germinating. Ensure to keep soil wet during germination. Depending on temperatures, if cold, I water with luke warm water. (vii) I think that transplanting tends to produce malformation in the parsnip root. Let them grow in the spot where they first saw the daylight! Good luck! 04 Nov 17, helen duckworth (New Zealand – cool/mountain climate) Whoopee my parsnips have germinated 100% by the look of the rows. Do I need to protect the seedlings from frost – I live in the McKenzie Country of South Canterbury. 14 May 17, liz (New Zealand – cool/mountain climate) hello – i also need some help with parsnips – i have a raised bed and put in plenty of compost most years – this last year i managed to get a whole row of parsnips to grow but – they are so tiny no bigger than my fingers and wrinkly like norah batties stockings but taste so darn good – my question is – how do i get them to grow into proper big parsnips – have i got something missing from the soil of my garden that they need to grow long and big??? thanks 15 May 17, John (Australia – temperate climate) Parsnips like deep friable soil to get long roots. Too much manure will give you twisted and forked roots. Planting them after a crop like lettuces, cabbages, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, etc is good as the soil will be loosened up and there will be less nitrogen in the soil. An excess of nitrogen will cause big bushy tops and small roots. 14 Jul 09, Arnie (New Zealand – temperate climate) Pastinaca sativa



There are no real “types” of parsnips but there definitely are varieties which are better for some soils compared to others. All parsnips are best suited to well dug, light soil which drains well. However some varieties do better on heavy soils such as clay. These are the thicker types which are also shorter. One common example of this variety is White Gem – it will never win any prizes at the show bench but if your soil is heavy then this makes an excellent choice.

Our list of suggested varieties, which can be seen here, gives extensive details of all the easily obtained parsnip varieties in the UK and Ireland.

Before reading this article further why not take two minutes to adjust all the dates in this website (including those below) to be more accurate for your home town (both UK and Ireland). The dates will default to the UK average if no dates are set. The settings will last for six months or more.


Before using the calendar below, why not adjust it to your weather conditions?

Not only will the calendar below be correct for your area but all dates in this site will also be adjusted. Your setting will last for six months or more and still be set when you revisit this site. If you prefer not to adjust the dates they will be the average for the UK.

Pre-germinate parsnip seeds (optional) – April week 3

Sow parsnip seeds outside – April week 4

Thin parsnip seedlings – May week 4

Begin to harvest parsnips – September week 2


Parsnips grow best in the following conditions:

  • A well-drained soil which has been well dug to include lots of well-rotted organic material.
  • Remove as many stones from the ground as possible. When parsnip roots hit stones they tend to split and grow wonky.
  • Do not add manure to the site before sowing seed. Addition of fresh manure encourages the roots to split
  • Parsnips prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. They don’t do well on acid soils. See here for more about soil acidity / alkalinity.
  • They grow equally well in full sun and partial shade. They don’t like dry soil however so if that might be a problem on your plot position them in partial shade where the soil will remain moist for longer.


Firstly to practical matters, parsnip seeds are wafer thin and very light, so only sow them when there is no wind. The seeds only last six months or so and definitely not for a year, so choose your supplier carefully. Sowing old parsnip seeds will only result in disappointment.

One word of hard-earned advice, forget sowing parsnip seeds in pots or loo roll inners, it doesn’t work well. The plants will come up successfully but the roots inevitably will be forked. This applies to sowing directly in the ground and pre-germinating the seeds first.

Follow our advice below for sowing parsnip seed directly in the ground and you should have no problems. If you want to sow the seeds directly in the ground outside without pre-germinating them to skip the next section.


Parsnips are notoriously difficult to germinate so you may want to pre-germinate the seeds before sowing them. Pre-germinating seed starts them into life before you sow them which is especially useful with parsnips.

The steps for pre-germinating parsnip seed are simple and outlined below:

  • Start the process off in the third week of April which is a week or so before you would normally sow the seed directly outside.
  • Place the seeds on a damp paper towel in a bowl or container and gently pat them down. Cover with cling film to prevent moisture loss (the cling film should not be touching the seeds) and place in a moderately warm area inside the house, a temperature of around 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C) is ideal.
  • Keep the paper towel moist at all times. The seeds will take seven to ten days to germinate, if they haven’t geminated after three weeks using this method then suspect that they never will. In this case buy new fresh seeds from a reputable supplier and start the process again.
  • Germinated seeds will sprout a tiny white root which indicates they are beginning to grow. The roots are difficult to see on white paper towels so keep a good watch on them at least once a day after the first three days.
  • Immediately the seeds have germinated, sow them as described below. It will be a bit fiddly to do this because the seeds will be damp. The best solution is to take the paper towel with the pre-germinated seeds outside to where they can be sown one by one.


As long as you stick to the timescales below you should have no problem getting parsnips to grow from a direct outdoor sowing. The key is to ignore any advice which suggests sowing the seeds as early as possible in the year, even if it appears on the seed packet.

Parsnip seeds need a minimum soil temperature of 41°F / 5°C to germinate but the ideal temperature attainable in the UK is about 53°F / 12°C which occurs most years in the last week of April. Stick to that date, ignore any advice about earlier dates and you won’t go far wrong.

Use the edge of a hoe or a trowel to draw a groove in the prepared soil to a depth of 2.5cm / 1in. Sow one seed every 5cm / 2in, if you have more than one row the rows should be 45cm / 18in apart. Draw the soil over the seeds and water well.

The seeds will take a couple of weeks to appear above ground, longer in some cases, so make sure you mark the rows carefully to indicate where they are sown. A line of string will do fine. Some gardeners sow radish seed along side the rows which does two things. First, the radish seedlings will appear much sooner than the parsnip seedlings which will clearly show where the parsnips are. It will also give you a crop of radish well before they are able to interfere with the parsnips.


When the seedlings appear thin them to one every 20cm / 8in apart. Throw the thinnings on the compost heap, don’t replant them elsewhere because replanted parsnips do not grow well.

Parsnip seedlings

Parsnips develop long tap roots so they are unlikely to die from lack of water. Watering in dry conditions however, will help stop the roots from splitting.

Parsnips grow best where nitrogen based nutrients are slightly on the low side. We suggest a feed of blood, fish and bone fertiliser every other month to provide trace elements and other nutrients.

Your parsnips will look after themselves from now on until harvest time, regular weeding is the only job required.


Your parsnips will be large enough to harvest from mid-September onwards and will last in the ground until early the next year. Traditional gardening wisdom says that parsnips exposed to frosts sweeten up and taste better than those harvested earlier. Conduct your own taste experiment by harvesting some in mid September and then in early November comparing the taste of the two.

Parsnips store best when left in the ground but in cooler areas, from October onwards, frozen soil can make harvesting near impossible. Harvested parsnips can be stored in buckets of garden soil or spent compost in a garden shed or unheated garage.

One word of advice for those who plan leave their parsnips in the ground from late October onwards, is that the foliage dies down and in some cases it is difficult to see exactly where your remaining parsnips are! We recommend some form of marking them – plant labels or a line of string are two obvious solutions.

for our page dedicated to the different varieties of parsnips which are available in the UK and Ireland.

You may also like our in depth articles on:


Better still, they don’t need harvesting all in one go – you can leave them in the ground right through to early spring, lifting just a few as and when you need them!

Growing parsnips couldn’t be simpler, so take a look at our full range of Parsnip seed available to buy online today.

Parsnip Varieties

F1 hybrid varieties have brought great improvements to this useful winter vegetable crop, offering disease resistance, smoother skins and improved germination rates. As a result, Parsnips are definitely making a comeback, so be sure to buy your Parsnip seed early as they tend to sell out quickly!

  • Parsnip ‘Gladiator’ – The world’s first F1 hybrid Parsnip and still a well respected show bench variety, with good canker resistance and a sweet earthy flavour.
  • Parsnip ‘Tender and True’ – Virtually coreless with particularly sweet flesh, making it useful for both the showbench and the kitchen
  • Parsnip ‘The Student’ – A taste from the past that dates back to the 1800’s! This heritage variety produces particularly long heavy roots on good soils
  • Parsnip ‘Countess’ – Conical, carrot-like roots that retain their colour after washing and look especially attractive on the plate.

Sowing parsnip seeds

Don’t be tempted to use last year’s leftover seed. Parsnips have a relatively short viability period so it is particularly important to order fresh parsnip seed packets each year to get the very best parsnip crops

When to sow parsnips

Parsnip seeds should be direct sown outdoors from April to June, once the the ground is workable. They need temperatures of around 12C (52F) so don’t sow them too much earlier than this unless you use cloches to warm the soil first. Avoid sowing in cold or wet soils as the seed is liable to rot.

Where to sow parsnips

Grow parsnips in a sunny position in stone-free, well prepared ground that has been deeply cultivated and raked to a fine tilthe. Parsnips prefer a fertile, light, well drained soil. On heavier or stony soils you may find better results by choosing a shorter rooted variety such as Parsnip ‘Countess’.

How to sow parsnips

If space is limited on your vegetable plot then why not sow a crop of radishes in between your rows of parsnips to maximise the use of your land. These will mature quickly and can be harvested long before the parsnips will be ready.

Growing parsnips

  • Germination is often slow and can take up to 28 days.
  • During dry periods it is especially important to keep the seed well watered to encourage good germination, particularly when growing on light, sandy soils.
  • When large enough to handle, thin out the seedlings within each row to 7cm (3″) apart or 10cm (4″) apart if larger roots are required.
  • Once germinated, parsnips will need little attention and should be watered only when necessary to keep the soil moist.
  • Try to avoid extremes of wet and dry soil as this may cause the roots to split.
  • Weed between rows of parsnips regularly to keep beds weed free at all times. Hand weeding is preferable as there is less risk of damage to the developing parsnip roots, or you can carefully hoe between the rows.

Growing parsnips in containers

While many vegetable crops make excellent subjects for growing in containers, unfortunately parsnips are not well suited to this type of cultivation. Parsnips develop long roots and therefore need more depth of soil than most containers can offer. However, if you have a particularly deep container or spare dustbin then there is no reason why you shouldn’t drill some holes in the bottom and have a go!

When to harvest parsnips

Harvest parsnips from late autumn right through to the end of January, once the foliage begins to die back. Parsnip crops can be left in the ground, and simply lifted a few roots at a time, as and when required. Simply loosen the soil around the roots with a fork before lifting them to avoid damaging the roots.

It is worth noting that their flavour will be improved if they are left in the ground until exposed to frost. This process converts the starch within the roots into sugars, thereby giving them a far sweeter flavour.

Alternatively you can lift and store parsnips in boxes of barely moist soil, peat or sand, and store in a cool place like a shed, garage or unheated greenhouse. Roots can be stored like this for up to 4 months.

Parsnips: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

Parsnips were popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans, and have been grown in America since the first colonists brought them over from Europe. Although they take a long time to mature, their flavor is worth the wait. Parsnips are tasty by themselves, as well as in soups and in stews.

About parsnips
Parsnips require a long growing season (100 to 130 days) to mature. They tolerate frosts and can be harvested just before the ground freezes or left in the ground over the winter. Time seed sowing for harvest just after the average first fall frost date. In areas with mild winters, you can also sow seeds in the fall from September through November.
Purchase fresh seeds each year.

Choosing a site to grow parsnips
Select a site with full sun to light shade and deep, well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

Planting Instructions
Work soil at least a foot deep to remove rocks, clods, and other obstructions. In heavy soils, form raised beds about 4 to 6 inches high. Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting. Sow the seeds 1/2 inch deep, 2 seeds per inch in rows or beds. When planting in heavy soil, cover seeds with vermiculite so the seedlings can emerge easily. Because parsnips seeds are slow to germinate, it’s a good idea to mix some radish seeds in with them to break the soil and mark the rows. Parsnip seedlings will emerge in 2 to 3 weeks.

Ongoing Care
Thin well-established seedlings to stand 3 to 6 inches apart, depending on how large you want your roots. Keep the rows weeded with shallow cultivation and water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Parsnips are generally pest- and disease-free.

How to harvest parsnips
For the best-tasting parsnips, harvest before the ground freezes, but after a few frosts, or leave them in the ground through the winter. If you store parsnips in the ground, cover them with a thick layer of organic mulch. Harvest immediately after the ground thaws in the spring.

How To Grow Parsnips – Growing Parsnips In The Vegetable Garden

When you’re planning your garden, you may want to include planting parsnips among your carrots and other root vegetables. In fact, parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are related to the carrot. The top of the parsnip resembles broadleaf parsley. Parsnips will grow to 3 feet (.91 m.) tall, with roots as long as 20 inches (50 cm.) long.

So now you might ask, “How do I grow parsnips?” How to grow parsnips isn’t much different from other root vegetables. They are winter vegetables that like cool weather and can take as long as 180 days to mature. They are actually exposed to almost freezing temperatures for about a month before harvesting. When planting parsnips, remember that cool weather enhances the flavor of the root,

but hot weather leads to poor quality vegetables.

How to Grow Parsnips

It takes from 120 to 180 days for a parsnip to go from seeds to roots. When planting parsnips, plant the seeds ½-inch apart and ½-inch deep in rows at least 12 inches (30 cm.) apart. This gives the growing parsnips room to develop good roots.

Growing parsnips takes 18 days for germination. After seedlings appear, wait a couple of weeks and thin the plants to about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm.) apart in rows.

Water parsnips well when growing parsnips or the roots will be flavorless and tough. Fertilization of the soil is also helpful, and you can fertilize your growing parsnips the same way you would your carrots. Side dress with fertilizer around June to keep the soil healthy enough for growing parsnips.

When to Harvest Parsnips

After 120 to 180 days, you’ll know when to harvest parsnips because the leafy tops reach to 3 feet tall. Harvest parsnips throughout the row and leave others to mature. Parsnips keep well when stored at 32 F. (0 C.).

You can also leave some of the parsnips in the ground until spring; just throw a few inches of soil over your first fall crop of parsnips to insulate the roots for the coming winter. When to harvest parsnips in the spring is right after the thaw. The parsnips will be even sweeter than the fall harvest.

Parsnip from seedBack to Articles Page

Diana Noonan’s fail-safe method to get parsnip seed growing.

How many times have you re-sown your parsnip seed this spring? Twice? Three times? Maybe even four! If you’re still looking at an empty row where there should be little green leaves, don’t despair. There is still time to sow once more – but at this stage of the season, you can’t afford to get it wrong (again).
Persuading parsnip seed to germinate is traditionally regarded as being so difficult that a whole collection of mysterious advice has grown up around it. Some gardeners insist that seed be totally fresh. Others swear that running a kettle of boiling water over the row of seed before covering it with soil will do the trick. A few old-timers swear by putting seed in the freezer for a day or so, before sowing it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what advice you follow, you might still be disappointed, especially in a cold season. Unless, of course, you reach for the eyebrow tweezers and go for my tried-and-true, no-panic parsnip germination technique. And if you think it sounds like microsurgery, believe me, it’s a lot less labour-intensive than sowing, re-sowing, sowing again, and then having to creep along the row thinning the little blighters!

Step one
Fold a paper kitchen towel in four, place it on a saucer, and moisten it with water.

Step two
Snip open a fresh packet of parsnip seed and sprinkle the contents onto the moistened towel.

Step three
Fold a second paper kitchen towel in four. Moisten it, lay it over the seeds, and press down to make a wet parsnip-seed sandwich.

Step four
Wrap the sandwich, saucer and all, in cling film to seal in the moisture. Place it in a warm place such as on top of a hot-water cylinder or on a sunny window ledge or heat pad (you’re after a warm, even heat – don’t let the seed get too hot, or you’ll cook it!).

Step five
Inspect the seed-sandwich regularly to make sure the paper towel remains moist, and to check for signs of germination. When you spot those little white root shoots, reach for the tweezers.

Step six
Out in the garden, make your seed furrow and, without touching the root shoot, use the tweezers to gently transfer each sprouted seed into the row. Sieve half a centimetre of fine soil over the top of the sown seeds, water gently, sprinkle over slug bait, and cover the row with a sheet of clear plastic to lock in the warmth and moisture.

Step seven
Wait with confidence for those precious green leaves to appear, then remove the plastic and attend to the young parsnips daily with the watering can and, later, liquid manure.

Top tips

Because you can be 99% sure that all your sprouted seeds will grow, space them 8cm apart to avoid thinning at a later date. Don’t expect to sow all your seed at once. Parsnip germination is erratic, and you don’t want to place the seed in the ground until it has sprouted. If you have any leftover germinated seed after filling your row, sow the lot in one spot at the end. Once these “extras” grow two seed leaves, you can transplant them, as required, into any spots in the row where seeds may not have come through the ground.

Why are parsnip seeds so difficult to germinate?

  • They have a short period of viability, i.e. they quickly go stale.
  • They take a long time to germinate (up to 2-3 weeks) and a lot can go wrong in that time (rotting, for example, or being devoured by garden pests).
  • They require warm temperatures in which to germinate (a soil temperature of 10-20°C is best) so an unexpected cold snap can put paid to their efforts to sprout.
  • Parsnip seed won’t germinate in dry conditions, so a period without rain will inhibit sprouting.

Advice for parsnip perfectionists

If you’re planning on winning the biggest parsnip section of your local garden show, try this crafty trick. At seed-sowing time, ram a crowbar (or something similar) into the ground and work it around to create a deep cone space in the soil. Fill the space with fine dry soil, potting mix, or either of these ingredients mixed with fine river sand. Sow the seed on top of the specially prepared spot, and cover as usual. The loose soil will mean uninterrupted growth for your (hopefully) giant parsnip.

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