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ParnipsParnips

 A roast dinner isn’t complete without roast parsnips – and they add a whole new dimension to stews and casseroles too.The good news is parsnips are easy to grow, need little maintenance and can be left in the garden until you’re ready to use them. Sow in spring and you’ll have parsnips in the autumn.

The Parsnip

This sweet, starchy winter root vegetable makes a healthy alternative to potatoes.  It is often over looked as a good source of fibre, which helps bowel regularity and may help to protect against cancer of the colon

Benefits of Parsnip

  • Useful source of vitamin C.
  • Useful source of starch and fibre.
  • Contains folate.

Drawback: None

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  Sowing
  Harvesting
  Varieties
  Problems
  Video
Sowing Parsnips

Parsnips Grown in Toilet RollsParnips Growing in Toilet Rolls

When to sow

  • Outdoors March to April

How to sow Parsnips

  • Sow three seeds at 15cm (6in) intervals, 13mm (0.5in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart.
  • Although it is sometimes recommended to start sowing in February, this can lead to failure. Sowings made in March and April, and even early May, will do much better. Or warm the soil before sowing with cloches or similar; leave in place until the seedlings have developed two true leaves.
  • If your ground like mine is very stoney why not try filling used toilet rolls with compost and sowing 2-3 seeds per roll then transplant the whole roll just before the root gets to the bottom of the tube, I transplant the tube as well as this stops root shock and simply rots away in the ground!  Also if you leave a lip by not filling the tube to the brim this helps to stop carrot fly too.

 

Harvesting Parsnips

Harvested ParsnipsHarvested Parsnips

Tips for Harvesting      

  • The roots are ready to lift when the foliage starts to die down in autumn; use a fork to carefully lift them.
  • They can be left in the soil and lifted as required, although lifting a few extra in November will ensure you still have parsnips to eat even if the soil is frozen.
  • Lightly frosted roots tend to produce the best flavour.
  • Parsnips can be harvested in the summer when young also.
Parsnips Varieties

Harvested ParsnipsHarvested Parsnips

Great Parsnips to try:      

  • Countess F1 Parsnip

    • Main crop variety with good disease tolerance and high yield. Smooth skin, very uniform - ideal for the show bench.

  • Gladiator F1 Parsnip

    • Slightly larger than standard types but has refined shape of hybrid quality. Smooth white skin and canker resistant.

  •  Hollow Crown Parsnip

    • A favourite for the show bench. Long tapering roots of nice white skin and well textured flesh. Needs good deep soil for best results.

  • Imperial Crown Parsnip

    • Selected and maintained on our farm. Chosen for its long smooth roots but with a small crown. Excellent flavour and texture. Good exhibition variety.

  •  Palace F1 Parsnip

    • Superbly sweet flavour. Very vigorous, top quality, smooth-skinned, wedge bayonet-shaped roots with good resistance to canker. High yielding variety with sweet flavour, perfect for those roasts!

  •  Student Parsnip

    • Long slender roots with creamy flesh and smooth skin. Small central core and pleasant mild flavour. One of the first cultivated varieties.

  • Tender and True Parsnip

    • One of the most popular varieties. Very uniform, pale coloured skin and outstanding flavour. Good choice for the show bench.

  • White King Parsnip

    • Another of our own introductions and now our biggest seller. Semi-long roots with smooth cream white skin and flesh. Finest flavour in our opinion.

Problems Growing Parsnips

CankerParsnip Canker

Parsnip Canker:      

  • This orange, brown or purple-coloured rot usually starts at the top of the root.

  • It is mostly caused by drought, over-rich soil or damage to the crown.

Remedy:

  • Sow resistant cultivars such as ‘Avonresister’ and ‘Archer’,
  • Improve drainage
  • Avoid damaging the roots.
  • Avoid sowing seeds too early in the year. Protect from carrot fly.

 

Carrot FlyCarrot Fly

Carrot Fly

Larvae of this fly tunnel roots so affected areas have to be discarded and it also allows easier infection by parsnip canker.

Remedy:

Grow roots under insect-proof mesh.

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