The full nutty-sweet flavor of fresh parsnip grown in your organic garden is a taste that is worth the effort it takes to grow this crop. This is a crop that requires a little extra soil preparation to grow and require between 100 to 120 days to mature.It is know as a winter vegetable because it’s full flavor doesn’t emerge until this root crop has been exposed to near freezing temperatures.They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, fiber and carbohydrates.
They are a crop that can be safely left in the ground over winter and harvested the next spring if required. when doing this, you should harvest before the new tops and seed stalks start their growth or else the root becomes fibrous and starchy along with losing its sweet flavor.Because of their long growing season, planting a catch crops is a great way to make best use of the area of the garden that your parsnip patch is located.
Preparation of the soil needs a little more work that the usual plant type crops. It is a root crop that can extend anywhere from 8 inches to 24 inches into the soil. A double-dug garden bed is what is needed with a loose soil full of organic matter, avoid high nitrogen content in the organic matter because it can cause forked roots.
Sow parsnip seeds directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in areas of cooler climates and in the south they can be planted in the fall for a spring harvest. Do not use old seeds from previous years, it is best to use fresh seeds and to soak them for several hours before planting to encourage germination. The germination rates of parsnip seeds can be fairly low, sow about 3 seeds per inch,at a depth of 1/2 inch. Firmly pack the soil over the seeds once they have been planted in rows about 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart and water gently, keeping the soil evenly moist. Thin them to about 3 inches apart once they emerge from the soil.
Parsnips are a crop that will grow well in partial shade or full sun. The soil should be a reasonably fertile soil and of good depth, they are a root vegetable root crop that there root can reach 24 inches in depth. A soil that has low fertility can be identified by stunted growth and stems that turn light green.
Water is very important at all times with parsnip. During the dry seasons when rainfall is limited, parsnips need a good watering once a week to ensure a continuous healthy growth. You can add a straw mulch after the seedlings have emerged to help retain soil moisture and to suppress weeds. Hand pick any weeds near the plants to avoid damage to this root crop.
You don’t want to harvest this crop until there has been a couple of weeks of near freezing temperatures. The cold helps to convert the starch in the roots into sugars which give the parsnip its sweet taste. This crop can also be mulched with a thick layer of straw and left in the ground over the winter months to be harvested as needed. If left in the ground during the winter months you will want to pull the remaining crop out before any new growth begins. Use a spade to dig the parsnip root out of your garden beds, be careful because they can be as deep as 24 inches into the ground..
Once you have harvested your parsnip roots cut off any remaining leaf stalks and wash, then dry the root for storage. They can be stored for several weeks in the right conditions.
A environment friendly and healthy way of gardening. Organic Gardening is away of gardening in harmony with nature. Growing a healthy and productive crop in a way that is healthier for both you and the environment.
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