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Quick hits on Parsnips..

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Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/4/2011, 1:58 pm

Since we have no Rookie Topic for this week, and someone was asking what to do with the packet of parsnip seeds, I figured I'd toss something together for you....some quick-hitting facts.



- Parsnip is considered a winter vegetable because its flavor is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures for 2 to 4 weeks in the fall and early winter. The starch in the parsnip root changes into sugar, resulting in a strong, sweet, unique taste.



- Plant seed in early April or May in a deep (odd because this contradicts the first paragraph), fertile soil that is well prepared. Because parsnip seed is very short-lived, you must obtain a fresh supply each spring.



- Plant seeds 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. Because germination of even the freshest parsnip seed is often mediocre, seed thickly, at least two or three seeds per inch to ensure a good stand. Looks like parsnips are a 16/square crop. Someone please correct this. I saw 2-4" spacing per plant. I went down the middle with 3" for 16/square.



- Parsnips are relatively free of both insects and diseases. However, like other members of the carrot family, swallowtail caterpillars may find you. Just flick them off when you see them.



Summary: Parsnips are a long-season crop. They ideally are planted early in spring and allowed to mature all season long. They can be left in the ground through fall and winter and harvested when desired for cooking. Once frost nips them, the starches turn to sugar and gives them a more delicate taste. However, if left in the ground over the winter, be sure to pull them before they green up with new tops. At that point, parsnips can turn bitter. Seed vitality is short. Make sure you use them the season you buy them since the seeds don't keep well in storage.



Hope that helps!

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  ModernDayBetty on 8/4/2011, 3:10 pm

Thanks for putting this together. Now I have a wasted packet of seeds... oi. :o) Trials and tribulations only make the final harvest sweeter.

Thanks so much for putting something together!

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/4/2011, 5:27 pm

krazikandiland wrote:Thanks for putting this together. Now I have a wasted packet of seeds... oi. :o) Trials and tribulations only make the final harvest sweeter.

Thanks so much for putting something together!



I would say you don't have a completely wasted packet of seeds. If you decide to save some, some may still germinate. It said the rate drops off. It never said they ALL become duds.

And, you can always plant a square now and see what happens.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  camprn on 8/4/2011, 5:55 pm

Krazi, in zone 7 you may be able to winter them over, but I don't know this for a fact.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/4/2011, 7:21 pm

Krazi

I just bought a packet of parsnip seeds today from Territorial Seeds and the package says they can be sown from March thru mid-July. Since it is only a couple of weeks after that date, I am going to try to plant them this weekend in both my SFG and in our community garden for our local food pantry. I often plant late because I can't get organized and absolutely lose track of the time tongue ,and since they take a frost or two for better taste, maybe I will still get some.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  ModernDayBetty on 8/4/2011, 9:09 pm

I think I'll do the whole vermiculite seed germinating thing tonight and see how many I get to germinate. Thanks everyone :o)


Furbal's Mom~ Let keep posting our results and compare :o)

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/4/2011, 10:10 pm

Krazi I will try to keep posting. We can let others know if it is worth planting parsnips this late in the year.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  quiltbea on 8/5/2011, 1:25 am

I tried them last year. Picked a few before winter. They weren't too good so left the rest in the garden. They overwintered here in zone 5a with its long, white, covered-in-snow winter. In the spring after the snow melted, I pulled the parsnips.

Roasted them in the oven with carrots and potatoes. They were delicious! My family couldn't believe how great was the dish.



My garden on Apr 6th this year.



Parsnips picked Apr 10th. Some picked the day before to check them out.



Roasted with carrots and potatoes.

I tried sowing them the year before with seed I had over a year old. Nothing came up so the seeds really should be bought new each year. You can't count on a harvest from seed from the year before.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  Goosegirl on 8/5/2011, 7:45 am

A friend of mine here in SD (Zone 4A) overwintered parsnips for the first time and she said they were the BEST parsnips they have ever grown!

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  ModernDayBetty on 8/5/2011, 10:57 am

Happy story that only illustrates how little I pay attention to detail sometimes. I went to germinate my seeds this morning in vermiculite. Checked out the package and it said it's for 2012. So they must have been just packaged when I bought them, mid June. I <3 Bakers Creek.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  quiltbea on 8/5/2011, 11:32 am

krazi....I wouldn't start seeds indoors. You won't be able to transplant them. They have to get sown directly in the garden where they will grow from seed to maturity since they are a root crop.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  ModernDayBetty on 8/5/2011, 12:18 pm

@quiltbea wrote:krazi....I wouldn't start seeds indoors. You won't be able to transplant them. They have to get sown directly in the garden where they will grow from seed to maturity since they are a root crop.

Ohhh I thought I had read Boffer say he did carrots this way in another post.... ooops. I'll have to take them outside and plant them. Thanks!! :o)

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  boffer on 8/5/2011, 12:39 pm

I think BBG did his carrots that way. I don't enjoy the inside germination process and do everything possible to make it easy and feasible to direct seed everything. I have a couple hundred carrots in the ground...if I had had to transplant them...it wouldn't have happened!

Be prepared, parsnips are slow to show and slow to grow.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  Icemaiden on 8/5/2011, 12:48 pm

I sowed seed from the same packet as last year without problems. If you sow three seeds at each station and then snip off any excess then I think it is fine.

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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/5/2011, 1:02 pm

I did my Tax Day Carrots that way for Carrot Week. But, I pulled them the second they germinated, too. Well, within two days. I popped them directly in the garden.



I don't think this is a good method if your summer is still running hot. Putting new, cool-season sprouts in 90+ soil wouldn't likely be a good idea....or I'd be doing that with my lettuces right now. In spring, though, taking new seeds from 70° soils to 40° soils before they have the chance to acclimate makes sense to me. I solely used the vermiculite for friability and the indoor temps to cut my germination times WAY down.....from 21 days to 6 days.



In case people are wondering about the stress you would be putting on sprouts by taking them out of vermiculite this quickly, here is my Carrot Week harvest this year. I didn't thin them well. This was one square of Little Fingers...




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Re: Quick hits on Parsnips..

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