Growing Parsnips for the Kitchen Garden
Parsnips in general have a long growing season, and a sizeable crop occupies a lot of space – neither of which features offers encouragement to owners of small kitchen gardens. But, if you are fond of these useful plants, the excellent small ‘Avonresister’ needs far less space than other varieties and could make a welcome addition to your vegetables.
When you are growing parsnips, you will need to sow seeds from March in the north and in April or May in the south. Sow two or three parsnip seeds at each growing point at a depth of 12-20 mm (¼-¾ in). Allow 75 mm (3 in) between growing points and 200 mm (8 in) between rows. Thin the seedlings to intervals of one every 75 mm (3 in).
When growing parsnips, they will need that was well composted for a previous crop. Dig the soil thoroughly in the autumn and break it down to a smoother surface only when preparing to sow. Shortly before sowing sprinkle and rake in a general fertiliser. The site should be moist and not too shady, and must be kept free of weeds.
Harvest from autumn onwards; the flavour is reckoned to improve after frost. The plants may be left in the ground until required. Any remaining the following March should be lifted and stored in boxes of sand or soil to prevent re-growth.
Canker is a frequent source of trouble with parsnips, but ‘Avonresister’ shows good resistance to it.
Improved Hollow Crown, heavy cropper with long, smooth, well-shaped roots. Good quality.
Lisbonnais, handsome, tapering roots, fine skin and superior flesh. The epicure’s variety.
Offenham, a heavy-shouldered, inter-mediate type. Best kind for shallow soils.
The Student, a heavy-cropping, medium-sized variety which has thick, tapering roots.
Site: Most, not too shady
Soil: Well prepared for a previous crop; moist
Harvest: Autumn onwards