Wednesday, 28 November 2012

parsnip experiment

Anyone who has followed my blog will know that I grow my parsnips in containers rather than on the plot. There are several reasons for this, the main one being that my soil is derived from boulder clay and once you get a few inches down it's rather heavy and stony - not good for parsnips.

So, as an experiment, this year I tried the 'borehole' method as well to see if it would give me a crop. This method involves boring a hole with a pointed iron bar and, by wiggling the bar you get a nice conical shape which you fill with finely sieved compost and sow the seeds on top. My holes were 15-18 inches deep which I figured is long enough for most parsnips and I lifted a couple today just to see.
the variety is Duchess F1
Decent sized roots, I think you'll agree, and they weighed in at 637g and 465g respectively.

There is a problem with this method, though. You have to dig a crater to get the blooming things out and I did find that germination rates for the outdoor sown ones was very poor. I start off my containers in the greenhouse so the compost is relatively warm and this gives excellent germination.

So, will I do it again? probably not as I can get a decent crop without any digging but if you are fed up of forked parsnips it's a technique certainly worth giving a go.

Away from the parsnip theme we've had two days without rain so I've managed to get some tidying up done outside. After what seems like an entire year of downpours it's a blessed relief to see the sun, even if there is very little heat in it!

1 comment:

  1. Flippin' 'andsome, me ansum (as we say down here in Devon). They look lovely.