Growing parsnips is very easy and it has high nutrition value. The vegetable and its leaves can be used for cooking, making this a valuable garden crop. A soil that is well-drained and rich in manure is ideal for getting a good crop of parsnips.
Growing Parsnips – A Simple Guide
Parsnips usually produce high yields even in a small space, and growing parsnips is both easy and profitable. Deep sandy soil that is organically enriched is suitable for planting. A patch that has already been fertilized and mulched earlier works best for growing parsnips. Though parsnips adapt to all types of climates, cool weather is best suited for its growth. In cold weather, sow the seeds in the spring or early summer. In temperate and sub-tropical areas, the best time to sow the seeds is mid autumn to mid winter. The seeds are planted about 2 centimeters deep in the soil and 30 to 45 centimeters apart. The plants should be watered regularly during the early stages of growth. The parsnips are ready for harvest after 5 to 6 months. A garden fork can be used to gently lift the root away from the soil.
Parsnip Seeds – Sowing and Harvesting
The parsnip seeds are very light and care should be taken while sowing it. It can also be bought in pellet forms, available for a few parsnip varieties. The pellet forms are heavier and do not blow away easily, so they are easier to manage. The best time to sow the seeds is mid-winter if the ground is not covered with frost or early spring. Parsnip seeds have a very short shelf life so it is advisable to buy a fresh batch of seeds every year. After sowing the seeds, cover it with sifted soil and water the area if it is dry. Germination of the seeds occurs after 3 to 4 weeks and it is necessary to weed frequently during this period. The parsnips can be harvested after approximately 6 months.
Parsnip Plant – Care and Maintenance
The young parsnip plant should be kept free of weeds during the growing season. Caterpillars and aphids are the common pests that can attack the plants, so take adequate measures to control them. The plants look pale green or stunted if they do not get adequate nutrients from the soil. This problem can be addressed by adding suitable fertilizers to the soil. If the soil is rocky or shallow, grow the ‘Fullback’ variety of parsnip plant. ‘Hollow crown’, ‘All America’ and Harris Model’ are some of the common varieties of parsnip that are cultivated. It is advisable to keep hands away from the face while working with the plants, because the stems and leaves produce a liquid that can cause allergic reaction.