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Where did I go wrong?

Newbie gardener alert! I dug a couple of my parsnips out a week or so ago, and they were a bit gnarled but tasted very good in a beef casserole. I harvested the rest yesterday.  Oh dear.  I wasn't expecting to win any prizes in a show and to be honest, as long as veg tastes nice I don't really care what it looks like.  But this is a nightmare array like something out of a parsnip horror story!  Twisted, gnarled, multi-rooted (seven roots on one particularly fine specimen!) and only two in the crop that were a reasonable size and relatively straight. I don't think the majority are useable as it would take so long to clean, peel and take off all the odd bits, only to be left with miniscule chunks of 'nip that I just don't want to bother.  I feel very disappointed, but determined to learn to do better next year as parsnips really are a family favourite here. Anyone got any advice? 


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,793

    Did you manure the ground? Have you got stones? Is the soil very heavy? Is the soil shallow? Did you thin out the plants to give them room to develop? Did they get enough water? Can be tricky blighters!! At least you got them to germinate, can be difficult!

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234

    I'm digging in my memory banks and I don't know if it's relevant but I seem to remember that carrots should be grown in sandy, soft, open soil because anything they hit as they grow can cause them to contort or split. Might be the same kind of thing.....maybe. 

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,671

    And it is rather early to be harvesting Parsnips in any case. The should be left until well frosted. That changes the starches into sugars and they are much sweeter.

    Busy Lizzie and Plant Pauper are both on the right track.

    If your soil is stony (like ours) then the best way is to put a long crow bar into the soil and waggle it around until you have made a funnel shaped hole about 3 to 4 inches across. Fill it with sifted soil and sow your seeds in the centre. Thin out to one decent plant.

  • BLTBLT Posts: 525

    I know Parsnips likte a long time in the ground and really I would harvest them as needed, certainlt leave a good while longer for xmas parsnips...Thers not even been a frost yet...well mot here..

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 16,793

    I only answered the bit you asked about, why they were misshapen. But parsnips are left in the ground and used as needed, as BLT says. My 2nd frost this morning and I haven't dug a parsnip yet. I dig up the last ones, if they haven't all been eaten, in early spring and freeze them.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Thanks everyone.  I shall work hard next spring to prepare a bed for them and take on board all the advice here.  I will also resist temptation and leave them in the ground for longer next year!  Many, many thanks.

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