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I have dug up a couple of parsnips and they seem to have cracked skins. I was wondering if this is normal, if they are diseased or if I have left them in the ground too long?




  • There are a couple of things which commonly affect parsnips and produce damage which looks like that, canker and carrot fly.  You can just cut the affected parts out and the rest of the root is perfectly edible.
    Which variety did you sow?  If it wasn't a canker-resistant variety, I suggest you try one like 'Gladiator F1' which is grown here, but some roots do still get small patches of canker near the top on occasion.
    For carrot fly, mesh protection works, but only if you use crop rotation.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mark-EMark-E Posts: 184
    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I believe they may have been either gladiator or tender and true variety. I can't remember which I sowed in that location now.

    They were sown in the same bed last year so maybe that's an issue. I will try to rotate them a bit but it's difficult as I haven't got a big area to work with.

    Would it be worth pulling up the remaining parsnips? If so, is there a good way to store?
  • Yes, sowing in the same bed each year is pretty much a no-no with parsnips and carrots due to the inevitable build-up of pests and diseases in the soil. There are quite a few newer varieties which may have better canker resistance now - see this general article on parsnips from the RHS:
    The best way to store parsnips is to leave them in the ground until needed - they can stand the ground being frozen solid for weeks (although digging them up in such conditions can be a challenge!)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mark-EMark-E Posts: 184
    Great, thanks for your help and advice Bob
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