An alternative to parsnips?

Parsnips don’t grow in my garden. Perhaps I haven’t tried hard enough. But if something is that difficult I might as well grow something else.

Fortunately, evening primrose has none of the reticence exhibited by parsnips. It supposedly prefers full sun and grows a stem in the second year. However, the evening primrose above is in its first year and is on the north side of the house.

Now, I didn’t realise that evening primrose was biennial until I decided to do an internet search to find out how to extract the oil from the seeds. I came across this illuminating site,, on my travels, although not in the way I had been searching for. Instead, I discovered that the roots may be like parsnip, so I’m going to dig up a few of the plants and see what I find. Then maybe I won’t even think about oil extraction but just sow all the seeds for next year’s ‘parsnip’ crop.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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9 Responses to An alternative to parsnips?

  1. I’ve been on many of those internet searches that take you here, there and everywhere. It’s amazing what we learn along the way. Best of luck.

  2. skyeent says:

    Let us know how you get on with the roots. It’s always easier to grow something that wants to grow for you, if you know what I mean….good too if it has lovely flowers and you can eat it!

  3. I’ve never grown parsnip .. another long crop to grow, but so tasty 🙂

  4. mortaltree says:

    Perhaps you should take a more laxed approach to growing parsnips. Alan over at Of Plums and Pignuts has found them as weeds in deserted gardens, has them self seeding in his own garden. I followed his lead several years ago by spreading on a rainy day a big packet of the seeds I had soaked overnight. They’re now a weed that grows in the middle of the tall grass. That said, I have had problems growing them in bare, tilled garden soil. I think this is due to drying out. Thanks for sharing about the evening primrose though.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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