My parsnips are eternally rubbish. I grew one good ‘snip this year, the rest came up short and very stubby. As these are one of my favourite vegetables, both for their sweet taste and smell, I’ve decided this cannot go on.
So I’ve turned to the power of the Internet. That’s you, by the way. All you growers who are no doubt a lot better than me.
Suggestions so far are that maybe my soil is too rich, and the parsnips can’t be bothered to grow down in search of water and nutrients, or that my ground is too stony.
I’ve tried growing all over the plot, and I’ve also sown the seeds in little half toilet roll ‘modules’ (my work colleagues were confused to see me coming out of different facilities with empty rolls in my hands, but hey) before planting on.
One tip I’m looking to explore came from solway cropper, on the Grow Your Own forums. ‘Because my soil is derived from boulder clay it is full of stones, so I stopped trying to grow decent parsnips in it years ago,’ he posted. ‘Now I grow them in an assortment of pots, and 1kg of parsnips per bucket is a fairly typical yield’.
(He has a picture to prove it, too…)
This sounds perfect, especially since I have complete control of the soil that goes into the pots. And because my friendly local florist has agreed to provide me with florist buckets if I keep her in jam this year.
So, lovely people, does this sound a good idea? My research tells me that parsnips should be planted 15cm away from each other, and germinate at 7 oC. By growing in pots, does this mean that the soil will warm up quicker?
I’ve had terrible trouble getting the blighters to germinate in the past – does anyone have any tips to get the seeds going?
Any other advice out there? My near neighbour has just ripped their bathtub out, and I’ve heard they’re super for growing…
Should I be knocking on their door??
Your thoughts are very much appreciated.