Green Food



How to Grow Parsnips

Parsnips will not transplant so the seeds must be sown where they are to grow; the best way IS to sow the seeds in a V-shaped drill in groups of three at about 8 inches apart with 18-20 inches between the rows. The seeds are very light and look like oatmeal, so avoid sowing on a breezy day. Germination is slow, partly because the seed is normally sown from February and partly by reason of its nature and habit. The largest and longest roots result from the earlier sowing, but for the housewife who prefers a short stumpy root April sowing is early enough. The soil must be free from large clods or new manure as the roots quickly fork and instead of a large tapered root it becomes a mass of thongs, so the soil which has been dug over in autumn must be well broken down with a fork and not merely raked over. As the seed is slow in germinating it is quite possible that masses of small weeds may spring up and obscure the line of the row making it difficult to hoe between the rows and hand-weed the ~rop. To overcome this make a thin line of hydrated lime over the top of the covered dnll or, alternatively, sow a few lettuce seeds along the drills With the parsnip seed, these will germinate first and row cultivation can take place with no risk of damage to the seedlings. When about 3 inches high, thin the seedling groups to one plant. Subsequent cultivation merely consists of keeping them free from weeds. For exhibition, special stations should be prepared, a method which can be used for carrots as well and consists of containers such as large boxes, drums or drainpipes filled with good soil sifted through a half-inch sieve, 7 parts, to which has been added 2 parts granulated peat and I part well-rotted manure, With a 3-inch potful of a well balanced organic fertiliser. Ordinary garden soil may, of course, be used and where a fair number of specimens are required the effect of a bottomless box can be achieved by making a trough­like box with two boards or other supports. A tapered hole made with a crowbar wiggled round in the ground and filled with prepared soil is often recommended, but this is only possible on medium to light soils. If, however, this is done on heavy soils, the pressure will make a funnel into which water will fun and the result will be any­thing but a specimen root. Far better to make 6-inch holes about 18 inches deep with a draining spade or a trowel and fill In with specially prepared soil.

how to grow parsnips

Pests and Diseases.

Few pests attack parsnips, perhaps the most serious being a leaf mining fly, but if they are sprayed at the first sign of attack with an insecticide containing B.H.C., it will control them. The worst disease is rusty-looking fungus which mostly attacks the top portion. This is generally a secondary disease which follows even slight damage. As the parsnip is very soft and spongy even a small crack will be sufficient to allow of entry. This disease is more of a disfigurement than a really damaging one, but makes the roots unusable for exhibition. An easy control is to cover the crowns with peat as soon as they are about the thickness of a thumb, better still use peat impregnated with Jeyes' fluid at the rate of 100zs. to a bucketful of peat. Repeat this at intervals during the growing season.

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