PARSNIP HELP PLEASE

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3759allen

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PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« on: August 13, 2013, 20:53 »
hi all i'm having a bit of trouble with my parsnips.

i haven't managed to get that many to grow, but the ones that have seem to have stopped growing prematurely and i can only describe as trying to grow 3 or more little roots. also the lush green leaves died off prematurely. i have attached a picture.

it's my first year growing on the ground, i haven't added any fertiliser, compost or manure to the ground. i'm hoping that this may be the reason for the poor results as i will be adding plenty of organic material over the winter.

my carrots also seem to be short and forking.

any ideas? many thanks in advance.
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Sparkyrog

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 21:18 »
is your ground very stony ?
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JayG

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 21:35 »
Sorry to see that 3759allen - parsnips are usually reasonably problem-free (once you get them to germinate  ::)) but, like carrots, they don't like very heavy clay soil which makes life very difficult for them to grow down through, or a very stony soil (if the root hits a stone it will fork.)

Your parsnip looks stunted as if it's just not happy with life overall, and if it's just stopped growing it may be short of food, or it may be a combination of starvation and unfavourable soil conditions.

Although manuring beds used for growing parsnips or carrots is not recommended because that can also cause forking, they won't prosper in very poor soils without additional feeding either.
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sunshineband

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 21:39 »
Adding some well rotted manure this Autumn to the bed where you intend to sow parsnips next Spring will be OK. If you do not have any, then garden compost and chicken manure pellets will do the job.

And taking out as many stones as possible of course  ;)
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BobE

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 22:25 »
Its worth sieving a carrot or a parsnip bed or raised bed.   Ive read of people doing that.

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solway cropper

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 23:15 »
Grow them in deep containers filled with well-sieved compost and you shouldn't have a problem. They don't require a lot of feeding and mine perform well with just the addition of a little BFB to the mix.

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BobE

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 23:27 »
Containers are good for carrots as well.  You can get them above carrot fly height.

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3759allen

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 08:11 »
thanks for all the replies.

the soil is sandy and light. the ground was an absolute mess when i moved in and full of buried metal, car parts, brambles, and rocks and stones. i did sieve the soil where the carrots, parsnips, beetroot and potatoes were going.

i think i may try and make up some containers over winter for next year for parsnips and carrots.

at least it's good news that it's just the growing conditions rather than disease.

thanks all.

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brianbishop

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 09:37 »
Did you sow them direct in the soil? They look a bit like some I experimented with sowing in modules.They can't handle any root disturbance!
Bish

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JayG

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 10:06 »
the soil is sandy and light. the ground was an absolute mess when i moved in and full of buried metal, car parts, brambles, and rocks and stones. i did sieve the soil where the carrots, parsnips, beetroot and potatoes were going.

After I moved here it took me quite a few years to figure out why most of my crops seemed to be underperforming compared to other people's efforts, not to mention my previous efforts on different soil types.

Sandy soils can be very infertile, even after improving with compost or manure, because the nutrients are leached away very readily out of reach of most veg crops, especially in a wet summer.

My parsnips often looked like yours having only managed to produce rather modest foliage - this year, having fed them twice with Growmore or dried chicken poo, plus a couple of liquid feeds (which isn't that much over 5 months) they are currently lush and at least 2' tall.

Some will no doubt be interesting shapes where they have hit stones, but the key is to make sure they (and everything else) have enough food in soils like y(ours.)

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mumofstig

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 10:13 »
The trouble with mine is it's sandy on top but there is a hardpan layer ( at bottom of rotovator level ) and it makes carrots and parsnips fork.
If you have a hardpan layer you will need to dig/fork through it, so roots can get further down.
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https://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=56565.msg666947#msg666947

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JayG

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 10:26 »
Good point Mum - on a new plot it's worth having a deep exploratory dig to find out exactly what it is you're dealing with.

Mine might be sandy but there's lots of it - at least 2' before I hit the bedrock (sandstone, of course!)

Unless you have a pretty unlikely combination of sandy topsoil on top of a clay subsoil, or a very high water table,  it does at least have one big advantage - you will never lose any plants to waterlogging, and you shouldn't get many underground slugs either.  :)

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mumofstig

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2013, 11:15 »
I should have said - I had a hardpan layer - I haven't now.
I dug a third of the plot deeply each year until the hard layer was gone, no more forking roots here now  ::) :lol:

Quote
Unless you have a pretty unlikely combination of sandy topsoil on top of a clay subsoil

That combination is exactly what I seem to have - whether that's natural, or down to someone adding an awful lot of sand at some stage, I obviously don't know, cos the allotments have been here for donkey's years; but it's not just in patches here and there  :unsure:

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JayG

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 11:54 »
I just didn't expect to find anything other than sandstone under my sandy topsoil, but I suppose almost any combination of top, subsoil and bedrock is possible given the millions of years our soils took to come into being.   :unsure:

I'd rather have yours than mine though Mum - at least your clay layer presumably helps keep some of the water in the soil, and when mixed in with the sand you must be half way to a decent loam (I'm a menace on the roads because I have to peer at every roadside skip looking for lovely big lumps of solid clay to dry and sprinkle on my garden!)

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mumofstig

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Re: PARSNIP HELP PLEASE
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 13:22 »
I'd rather have yours than mine though Mum - at least your clay layer presumably helps keep some of the water in the soil, and when mixed in with the sand you must be half way to a decent loam

It doesn't hold much moisture cos I'm on the top of a slope  ::) and there's a long way to go before sand mixed with sub-soil becomes anything like decent loam :(
I just wished we had the free manure/compost deliveries like some people have reported on here.


Sorry for the slightly off topic diversion  :blush:



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