Sunday, 11 September 2011

parsnips for dinner

With my chicken dinner today I just fancied some parsnips and, as there were none in the freezer, that meant emptying out one of the flower buckets. Now I know people will say snips are not at their best till they've been frosted but when a man needs parsnips he's gotta have parsnips!

Contents of one flower bucket. 2lbs of parsnips
Some people have trouble growing parsnips but my method has worked well for the last four years. It may not produce show-stoppers but it does give me all that I need.

I fill plastic flower buckets with a mix of home-made compost, spent grow bag medium and sharp sand with a handful of blood, fish and bone. Seeds are sown in March in the greenhouse where they stay until the plants are three or four inches high. Thinning can be done if needed and I leave around a dozen plants per bucket which then go outside on to the garden soil. And before anyone asks why not put them straight in the ground it's because my soil is full of stones and they usually fork.

seeds sown
Initially I just put drain holes in the buckets but the roots always bend sharply trying to find a way out. My new method is to remove most of the bottom of the bucket but leave a rim which gives rigidity. Buckets are set on old quarry tiles and filled with mixture as before. Now when they go outside I just slide out the tile from under them and they send their taproots straight down. End result: much straighter parsnips. the ones in the top photo are from a bucket with just drain holes and you can see the bent roots which have been trimmed off.

Tub with bottom removed. It's the same technique I use for spuds.
By mid June the parsnips are growing away nicely and have sent their roots well down into the soil.

So there you have it. If you have trouble growing parsnips why not give it a try.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea, do you think it'll work for carrots too?