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Growing Parsnips in Ireland.


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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Growing Parsnips in Ireland. Reply with quote

How to grow Parsnips in Ireland.

Parsnips are more versatile than many people are aware for they can be used in several different ways; boiled, roasted, and fried they are a delicious change from potatoes in many of the recipes where we would normally use spuds. They are really delicious made into chips or crisps with a lovely mild, slightly sweet flavour, mashed with a little butter, served on they're own, or mixed with potatoes or some other root vegetable such as carrots, they are superb.

Soil Preparation.
Parsnips will grow equally well in heavy clay or light loam but the soil does need to be deep and well manured from a previous crop, or manured in autumn of the previous season, otherwise the roots will fork instead of growing straight and clean.



Sowing.
The parsnip is usually the first vegetable crop to be sown each year, in the south they can be sown at the end of February, whilst it is normally the end of March in the north. If they are sown later in April, then they tend not to grow as large but they are more likely to germinate better because the ground will have warmed up.

Drills should be 1in. (25mm) deep and about 15 in. (381mm) between rows. Because parsnip seed germinates badly, it is less important that seed is sown thinly. The fact that they germinate slowly does have its advantages because other quick growing crops such as radish may be sown with parsnips for when space is required for the host crop, the catch-crop (the radish) will be ready to harvest.

General Care.
Keep the ground free from weeds but take great care not to damage the root, as they will succumb to canker. Make sure that they have plenty of water to prevent the roots from splitting and so that they are able to develop and grow well.

Harvesting.
Parsnips are slow growing occupying the ground for several months before they are ready to lift; they may be dug up any time after the foliage begins to die away. They taste better when they have been touched by frost as this will sweeten them adding to their flavour, and therefore they may be left in the ground until late in the winter. If the ground is needed for other crops before the frosts have arrived, the parsnips may be dug up and left on the ground in a heap, where they can await the frosts. In excessively hard frosts the roots should be taken into a dry shed and covered with a sack, alternatively they can be stored in boxes of peat or Vermiculite.

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Organicgrowingpains
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A timely post GPI, thanks. We sowed our parsnips very late last year , around May!. They grew OK but a big variation in size from tiny to medium but tasted fantastic. I have the seeds ordered from the organic seed centre for this year so they will be in first .
Would it be of any help to cover the ground first to heat it up a bit

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Organicgrowingpains wrote:

Would it be of any help to cover the ground first to heat it up a bit


It would not hurt to give them a head start.
I mentioned this process in this piece..... Garden jobs in January, a late in the month list.

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Michael196
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

does it make any sense to start them off in a propagator then transfer out ?? given theri poor germination ?
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Organicgrowingpains
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not sow any of the root vegetables in a propagator as they don't like root disturbance.
I think I will go for heating the ground first and it must be really well dug. Manured since last year with vegetable compost only this year.
I would think we had full germination last year but sowed very late.

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sandra12
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Organicgrowingpains wrote:
I would not sow any of the root vegetables in a propagator as they don't like root disturbance.


Yep and I know all about this Organicgrowingpains. more twisted or alien looking parsnips I have never seen. Laughing
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Organicgrowingpains
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fresh manure or not rotted enough will cause 'forking' in carrots and parsnips!
The ground needs to be really well dug and take out as many stones as is feasible.
They can grow into some weird shapes!

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corkgardener
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a word of warning if growing parsnips. I have a few rows of Gladiator parsnips in the beds and was weeding between them a few days ago (sunny day). The following day i developed very bad burns on my arms with big blisters. It seems to be "parsnip burn" http://commonsensehome.com/parsnip-burn/

I didn't break any leaves or stems, just brushed against them

I have a toddler who roams the garden so will probably have to pull them to be safe.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a new one on me. Parsnips are known for being poor germinators but Gladiator are worse than most. However, those that do germinate are huge and, in my experience, perfect in shape. If you want to feed them, once they've grown to about 6 inches tall you can put farmyard manure all round them and they won't fork - suppresses weeds too.
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corkgardener
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://goo.gl/photos/BBWjT115SFSY2YbB7

they grew well - pity I couldn't leave them in until they were ready.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corkgardener there are many things we domestic gardeners can do that the pros can't, purely because of the scale of things. One parsnips trick is used by the show gardeners who use a crow bar to make a deepish hole for each parsnip. 30-40 don't take too long to do - but a field full would be impossible. The knack is to fill each hole with fine soil or compost to within half an inch of the top, and plant 4-6 seeds in each before filling in the remainder of the hole.

The principle of this is that your crow bar will have pushed any stones etc. to one side, leaving a perfectly shaped path for the growing parsnip root to follow. To encourage it I put a few grains of fertiliser at the bottom of the hole before starting to fill it (I favour chicken manure pellets) and this will(?) show the root where to get nourishment. Last year I planted around 60 like this, but only had 18 parsnips. Each one provided the two of us with about four meals but this is the problem with Gladiator - terrible germination rates but what you do get are most impressive. Maybe 8 seeds per hole would improve things.

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tippben
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem I've found with parsnips is the lateness of the first frost of autumn, which is supposed to sweeten the flesh. Last year, by the time that happened, they were monsters, but so woody that they were only good for soup and stews. When do people tend to lift theirs?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting Blowin. Unfortunately I think parsnips will be off my plan for next year because my toddler son loves to pull at plants and I don't want to risk him getting burned as I did. A pity because (roasted) parsnips are one of my favourite vegetables.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tippben, they do benefit from a frost but I tend to lift them when big enough, frost or no frost. However, if they are big but woody in the middle, I've found that, by running a sharp knife down the length of them, and then prising the outer layer apart with a round ended knife (or similar), it's quite easy to separate the outer (sweet) layer from the inedible woody bit which is then thrown away or composted.
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tippben
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Blowin. I've done the same. I didn't grow any this year, but I will next year. Funnily enough, last year my parsnips and several sowings of carrots all came out long, straight and "perfect". Salsify (first try) came out like octopi and were basically unpeelable. All were grown in the same sieved and unmanured soil, in the same raised bed. Any idea why, or how to get a better result?
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