Most of the parsnips I direct sowed in the garden and so far each one we have dug up has been long and straight, a perfect parsnip. I have always also sown parsnips in toilet tubes and transplanted them in the tube into the ground when they were very young. I did the same again this year and put them up on the plot. People say that it’s not a good idea transplanting them as they grow all knarly and funny shapes. They are not wrong, I’ve found this each year (so why do I keep on doing it?) and this year is the same. However, it has been a good year for parsnips it seems, much like it has been a good year for potatoes.
I dug up the odd perfectly long and straight parsnip, I also dug up some pretty big ones which were pretty much straight but had “growth challenges” along the way. A lot started off big and wide but were stunted and more of a globe shape than a parsnip shape. I think I know for sure now, transplanting parsnips is not as good as direct sowing, so maybe this year I’ll only direct sow.
One reason for transplanting is to have a safeguard against bad germination, and bugs. At the plot I have had small parsnip seedlings eaten away by small black beetle looking things. At the plot I have had maybe one or two seeds germinate out of two full rows. In the garden, I’ve not had any of these problems which is why I direct sowed in the garden and transplanted at the plot. I might try doing more at the plot and less in the garden this year though, parsnips are not the prettiest plant to look at all year in the garden.
While at the plot I noticed rhubarb starting to show, even the one that I transplanted just before Christmas. This time last year I have photos of rhubarb leaves with frost on them. I wouldn’t say this year the rhubarb is behind, more that it has been early for the last couple of years.
We still have a lot of cardboard left over from Christmas and so took some of that up to the plot to use as cover for the fruit bushes. While most of the woodchip at the plot has now been used by everyone, you can still fill buckets up with it if you scrabble about a bit. I covered the cardboard with the thick layer of this. This won’t stop the weeds (bindweed in particular) but it will slow it down. Climbing in and out of the fruit cage is not the easiest, so the less time I have to do it the better.
We were planning beef pot roast for tea, so I collected veg to add to it, I came home with:
- parsnips (most of them will be chopped up and frozen)
- swede (mashed)
- sprouts (par boiled and then fried)
- turnips (chopped up small so you can forget they are there)
- leeks (a couple of small ones)
- chard (stalks added to the pot roast instead of celery)
It’s in the oven now as I type this, cooking away slowly on a low heat for a couple of hours or so…