Just delicious... Roasted parsnips!

Wed, 31/08/2016 - 16:18 -- jim

The parsnip is one of the most underrated crops in the garden or your allotment...

The parsnip is one of the most underrated crops in the garden or your allotment, which is a great shame as when roasted with a little bit of maple syrup they are just delicious! Perfect for hearty autumn or winter meal.

You might read and you might be told to sow parsnips in February, but often the soil will be cold and wet, and hard to work. So wait until March or April, dependent on the weather, this will give you a better chance of germination. If the weather is particularly bad you could use a cloche to warm the soil, setting it up a few days or weeks beforehand, so the soil becomes more workable, aiding germination and growth.

When sowing your parsnip seeds it is advisable to sow in rows, Ideally 150 cm or 6 inches apart and 1 to 2 cm deep.  It is important not to overcrowd your parsnips as the leaves can grow very large and could result in a very small harvest. 

Rake the soil before sowing and try not to stand on it.

Use either a trowel or the side of your hand to make a furrow, the use of a wide wooden plank allows for a straight line and spacing, just run the trowel or your hand down either side to make a furrow.

Parsnip seeds are usually very light and flat, so it is very easy to sow two or three together. It is advisable to sow the seeds as thinly as possible, be aware that parsnips can take 5 to 6 weeks to germinate. So keep weeds at bay, with regular weeding, if you have limited time in your garden or allotment or you are just not that keen on weeding and alternative would be to sow a companion plant/seed like radishes, this helps to keep the weeds at bay and you are reaping twice the harvest and as they grow quickly marks where the row of parsnips are.