HOLLOW CROWN PARSNIP (Pastinaca sativa) is an American heirloom dating to the 1820s, The thick, tapering white roots are manageable size -- they grow 12" long x 2"-3" thick. Parsnips are one of those home garden treasures - you almost never see them at the green grocers, and when you do they are usually kind of tired and sad looking. These are hollow-crowned, so one interesting use of them is to carve into root-flutes, which will delight any children in your sphere! The flavor is mild and sweet (the seeds even smell sweet), more so if gathered after first frost. Excellent storage type. 110 days. 100 seeds.
ABOUT PARSNIPS: Long-ignored in modern home vegetable gardens, parsnips are one of the most valuable food crops you can grow. Cultivated since antiquity (Roman Emperor Tiberius was so fond of them he imported them from the Rhineland), butwith little attention paid to selection until the 19th Century. Parsnips can be used in soups (Holland), to make beer (Ireland), wine (France) marmalade (Spain) or just enjoyed as a you would any sweet and delicious root vegetable, boiling and eaten with butter; mashed, formed into cakes, dipped in flour and sauteed; thinly sliced in salads or, my favorite, roasted with other roots such as carrots and potatoes. They are also favored by livestock - pigs and horses in particular love them.
MEDICINAL: Historically, parsnips have been recommended since Pliny's day for a variety of ailments. Culpepper said they were good as a diuretic and for flatulence.
GROWING TIPS: Easy to grow provided you prepare the soil well, digging deeply and removing any debris or rocks that will interfere with growth. Strong soil is preferred to sandy as the enormous roots do need that support. Seed sown in February will be ready by September, or adjust for your calendar. They can be dug through the winter, and then not completely harvested until you are ready to sow again the following February. Sow 1" deep, droping 3 seeds together every 8" with rows 15" apart. Once seedlings emerge and get two sets of leaves, thin to the strongest of the three and keep hoed until harvest.