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Carrots and Parsnips

I tried to grow carrots and parsnips fir the first time this year but the results were not very good. I have attached pictures of the parsnips. As you can see they didn't grow very well. The carrots faired slightly better but nit great.
Has anyone any idea why? They were planted in a mostly shaded area, maybe getting sun for a couple of hours. Also the soil is fairly heavy. Hope someone can help. 


  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,496
    Carrots, courtesy of their fly, are a bit of a lottery, but parsnips can be helped.  You don't say how you grew them but the best method I've found is to make 12-15 inch holes with a stout crowbar which is wobbled about to enlarge the tops of the holes to around 3 inches.  I then drop 10-12 chicken manure pellets into the holes, before filling them with sifted soil or compost to within half an inch of ground level.  Finally, I place 5 individual seeds in each and complete the fill.  Like most root crops, parsnips will divert round any stones they meet on the way down into the soil, so creating a perfect channel via the above will ensure they grow nice and straight.
  • MikeOxgreenMikeOxgreen Posts: 804
    edited November 2022
    No pics, but they need plenty of sun as probably all fruit and veg do.
    Search on RHS or GW on how to grow them like this:
  • Thought I'd added the pics, sorry! Thought it may be thr location! Need to find something that may grow in part shade! Any ideas? I've grown potatoes successfully.  
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    Lettuce and chives are perfectly happy in shade, and actually grow better. Too much sun encourages bolting in most salad leaves.  :)
    Carrots are quite easy as long as you don't use rich soil, and make sure it's light and free draining, with no big stones which cause forking. The fly @nick615 mentions can be a nuisance, but a physical barrier around 18 inches- 2 feet [45-60cm] will prevent them getting in. In a container, you can raise it off the ground. They'll also grow well in partial shade, so it just depends on your site  :)

    If the pix are too big, they often don't load - it's an endless source off annoyance on the site, and hasn't been addressed. If you reduce their size to around 1MB, that helps  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks. I think it could be the soil then. And also thanks for the tip re the photos, that will be the issue. 
  • For carrots and beetroot in heavy soil I find adding used compost ( mines grown tomatoes the previous year) to help loosen the soil up.
    Then when planting the seed I dig a trench about 3" deep fill with new compost, seed, then cover with soil from the trench. This gives the seed food to start off, but then makes them search for more thus growing , but only if the soil is light enough.
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    Seeing as beetroot has been mentioned, can anyone tell me why my beetroot did really well, fabulous tops, but less than golf ball size roots please?
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    Funny thing about carrots I remember my dad growing them easily on horrible heavy clay which he smothered in cow manure every year straight from our cows (the whole huge veg garden got the same treatment). I  find them really difficult to get good size carrot at all, managed to cure the carrot fly by growing in large wooden crates full of compost so they were raised right up.
    This was filled to the very top with compost. Spoke to several people from our local allotments and lots of them don't bother with carrots. 

    I find parsnips really easy which is strange as they are meant to be much harder, 1.5kg parsnips are a success I think 
  • Compacted soil, or too much rich earth is a guess, as I presume you watered @Uff
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    Yes, I'll agree with the second idea purpleallim. I did water. Next year I won't coddle them. Thank you.
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
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