Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Grow Your Own => Topic started by: chickpeacurry on March 26, 2014, 09:29

Title: parsnip
Post by: chickpeacurry on March 26, 2014, 09:29
Had loads of problems trying to get parsnips to germinate last year. I did them in the ground and they awful shapes and got carrot fly.  This year am going to do them in large black boxes.   I was thinking about starting them first so I know they have germinated and then I can space them properly.  What would be the best way to do this.  I wondered is it to hot in the house or unheated greenhouse using toilet rolls to help transplant them.  Any Advice thanks
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: JayG on March 26, 2014, 11:05
Parsnip seed is very slow to germinate in the sort of soil temperatures they are often sown outdoors in, and using year-old seed doesn't help, although you should still get some germination.

If your soil is stony you have to expect some forking of the roots unless you go for growing them in specially prepared holes filled with compost and sieved soil.

Transplanting can be done, but they really don't like it and it is likely to also lead to forking - some members have reported successfully starting them in toilet roll tubes and planting the whole thing out, but you have to make sure the roots haven't already reached the bottom of the tubes before you do so.

As for carrot fly attack, and the canker which usually follows, the only way to be sure they are protected is to net them with enviromesh or similar, although where I am the damage is far less than that inflicted on carrots.

To some extent it depends how much trouble you are prepared to go to - as I posted in a recent picture I don't aim to grow exhibition quality snips and have become quite creative and talented with my veg peeler!

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=113361.msg1296949#msg1296949
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Gardener and Rabbit on March 26, 2014, 11:23
Hi Chickpeacurry,

I'm starting my parsnip seed now, indoors, between layers of damp kitchen-towel on a warm windowsill.

As the seeds sprout, I plant them into a cardboard tube filled with a general purpose compost, still on the windowsill. 

Then as soon as they start to come up through the compost, I move them outdoors to a warm sheltered spot.

 I grow 18 plants like this, for 3 rows of 6 plants each. As soon as the root shows at the bottom of the tube I plant them out, giving me perfectly spaced plants and without needing to do any thinning that might attract fly.

As I plant them I remove any stones that are directly below, using a trowel.  I don't use any garden compost, as they don't like fresh compost. And I  plant a lettuce  in-between the parsnips, as a quick crop before the parsnips fill-out.

Hope this helps, it's worked well for me for the last few years.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: chickpeacurry on March 26, 2014, 16:36
Thanks If you don't use fresh compost what would you use to plant them in
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: DD. on March 26, 2014, 16:40
We appear to be confusing "compost" with "manure".

There is nothing wrong with fresh compost as long as it's lump free - this is the problem with fresh manure, it contains lumps that cause the tap root to fork.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Ivor Backache on March 26, 2014, 17:17
I too chit them between damp paper. You will have to keep the paper moist every morning, for about 3 weeks.
You will see the small white root appear and transplant them into cardboard rolls. Minimum height of the toilet roll. Even then you may see the root appearing at one end and only small seeds leaves at the other end.
I fill the tubes with sieved soil and some compost, and keep it moist with water and a little liquid feed. it's quite a long process- I have been doing this since mid February, and now I have 24 tubes of which about 6 are in leaf. germination rates are abysmal. A packet has enough seed for 4/5 years but you will never get them to germinate much after 1 year. They can be hard work but the results are worth it.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: DD. on March 26, 2014, 17:38
Wait until mid-April.

Direct in the ground, pinch of seed every 8/9".

Go away and leave them for a few weeks.

Come back & thin to strongest.

Grow with your carrots with their fly protection.

DD. - a founder member of the NFGG. (No Faff Gardening Group).
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Jackypam on March 26, 2014, 21:45
I think I'll join your group DD :D
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Salmo on March 26, 2014, 22:00
I agree with DD. Parsnip seed will not keep to next year so be generous with the pinch, 6/7 seeds per station.

I sow radishes thinly between stations. These come up quickly and show me where the parsnip rows are. That allows me to hoe between the rows even before the parsnips emerge. They are also a bonus crop and often the best radishes of the year.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Ashurstman on March 26, 2014, 23:36
As last years newbie I took advice and chitted them at home on sheets of damp kitchen roll in in a dark plastic box. And then tried some directly in the ground.

Chitting won hands down!
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Gardener and Rabbit on March 27, 2014, 10:13
Is there a pattern here?  Posters who are in the North mostly seem to favour chitting, and members in the Midlands and South seem to favour direct sowing...probably linked to soil temperatures.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: georget on March 27, 2014, 11:34
I make a mix of molehills river sand and leaf mould at a ratio of 4..1.2 put through a riddle.I use this mix for everything.For parsnips i use my dibber to make a hole then fill with the compost 2 seeds cover with compost and wait :closedeyes:Every one a whopper we use a lot of parsnips in broth and with roasts so every year i grow a lot.I dont want to take chances as they take so long to germinate and this method never fails.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Lesleyk on March 27, 2014, 13:28
Not sure about the north, in general, but I sow my parsnips directly into the ground and deal with the long germination period.  I always get a good crop, with some forks but who cares?  It's the taste that counts.  I think I will join DD's group too ..... and as for the fly, I protect my carrot seed (also planted directly into the ground) with a barrier around the seed bed.  Never needed to protect the parsnips, though .... :)
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: JayG on March 27, 2014, 13:48
Is there a pattern here?  Posters who are in the North mostly seem to favour chitting, and members in the Midlands and South seem to favour direct sowing...probably linked to soil temperatures.

I usually sow in mid to late April and use the 'pinch every 8 inches' technique, but tried pre-germinating as well last year - surprisingly, no real difference in the time they took to appear, and some of the pre-germinated seeds didn't actually come up (I could have sown more than one per station but that would have somewhat defeated the whole object of the exercise, which is faster, reliable germination and no fiddly thinning!)
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Salmo on March 27, 2014, 16:09
Is there a pattern here?  Posters who are in the North mostly seem to favour chitting, and members in the Midlands and South seem to favour direct sowing...probably linked to soil temperatures.

So in the North they should just sow a bit later when the soil is warmed up.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: 3 allotments on March 27, 2014, 17:00
I sowed most of my parsnips in loo rolls in january now planted outside in lottie, 2 inch tall  now, and i have sown several rows outside  ;)
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: beesrus on March 27, 2014, 21:12
I swing both ways for what are just about my favourite veg. Made in heaven.

One long row sown direct 12 March under mesh on a well prepared de stoned bed. Not yet germinated. This year's Cobham seeds for a change.

Another long fiff faff/guaranteed  :D row of White gem has been dibbed in a not so well prepared bed, and holes filled with compost, awaiting peat pots sown 8 March with the previous year's left over seeds that weren't chitted, but carried out a seed viability test back in January. Pots germinated today after 19 days. Pots will be in the ground tomorrow under fleece, minus the bottoms.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: DD. on March 27, 2014, 21:44
I'm working daily on mine.

I must spend at least 10 seconds a day checking that it's not mid-April yet.

So, I'm destined to waste this valuable time each day, checking the calendar for another 3 weeks at least, before I rip the packet open!

(http://www.thesmilies.com/smilie-generator/image/laugh%5E_%5Earial%5E_%5E3%5E_%5E2%5E_%5EJoin+us+in+the+NFGG%5E_%5E.gif) (http://www.thesmilies.com)
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Jackypam on March 27, 2014, 22:57

 :D :D
Like it DD.  How did you do that?
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: DD. on March 28, 2014, 06:04
Here:

http://www.thesmilies.com/smilie-generator

You have to fiddle with font size and the alignment to get it as you want it.
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: Jackypam on March 28, 2014, 08:06
Ace!  By the way, you don't need to waste all that valuable time. Just wait until someone gives you a chocolate egg, and plant them then!
Title: Re: parsnip
Post by: DD. on March 28, 2014, 08:15
I could be waiting a long time!