Parsnip Growing

This hardy root vegetable, known botanically as Peucedanum sativum or Pastinaca sativum, needs a long period of uninterrupted growth and it must also be remem-bered that the seed is rather slow in germinating. These facts make it imperative that the seed be sown in the open as early in March as possible. Another point in connection with this seed is that germination is somewhat irregular.


It is essential if you expect to produce good-sized specimens to trench the soil deeply so that the desirable, long, straight, unforked roots are produced. The large seeds are sown in 1-inch deep drills in small groups at intervals of 4 inches, the drills spaced 11 feet apart. Choose a calm day for sowing as the seeds are light and liable to blow away in windy weather. Do not try to transplant as this will generally result in some injury to the essential tap root. Should all your seeds germinate you may remove alternate plants in the drills leaving the remaining ones at 8-inch intervals.parsnip growing

The best soil is one which has been well manured for a previous crop, and no animal manure should be applied later. However, a stimulant may well be given in the form of a mixture of 3 ounces of superphosphate, 1 ounce of sulphate of ammonia and 11 ounces of sulphate of potash per square yard. The roots will be ready for use at the end of October but, since they are frost resistant, they may be left in their rows until they are needed; or, if the soil has to be dug in preparation for further cropping, the roots may be lifted and packed away in a shed or cellar with a covering of dry soil or sand. In any event it is always wise to lift and store a few roots in case the ground freezes hard, making it impossible to dig up the roots.

Hamburg parsley

The tuberous roots are rather like parsnips and can be cooked. This unusual root vegetable is grown from seed sown in 1-inch deep drills, 1 foot apart, in March, thinning the seedlings to 9 inches apart.

The soil should be rich but not newly manured, and need not be as deep as is necessary for some others, as the root of the Hamburg parsley is not much more than 6 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. The ground during the winter to be dug as needed. Otherwise, roots may be lifted in October and stored in sand, ashes or peat, in a frostfree shed until they are required for use. This is one vegetable where the seedsman is unable to offer a choice of named forms. Carried out during the previous winter, ground chalk should be dusted on to the surface at the rate of 4 ounces to the square yard before seed sowing.

More On Parsley

Soil should be dug deeply to encourage the production of long, unforked roots. Manure is not desirable before sowing, but choose, if possible, a plot that had manure or compost for some previous crop. In any case apply prior to sowing a mixture of 4 parts of superphosphate, 1 part of sulphate of ammonia, and 1 part of sulphate or muriate of potash at the rate of 3 oz. per square yard. Lime is necessary on acid soils and should be applied as hydrated lime, 8 oz. per square yard, during the autumn or winter. Sow seed As early in March as the weather will permit. Drills should be 1 in. deep and 18 in. apart, and later, seedlings must be thinned out to 8 in. apart. Give one top dressing of nitrate of soda, Nitro-chalk, or sulphate of ammonia at the rate of 1 oz. to 12 ft. of row after thinning. Roots may be left in the ground all the winter if desired, and be dug as required. It is usually convenient, however, to lift a proportion in November and store in sand or ashes in a shed or other place.

For exhibition roots, deep holes are made 1 ft. apart in rows 2 ft. apart with a crowbar and filled with fine soil. Two seeds are sown in the top of each hole in early March and seedlings are thinned later to one per hole. The roots follow the line of least resistance and so are perfectly straight.

Reliable varieties are Avonresister (resistant to carrot fly), Tender and True, The Student, and Hollow Crown.

Carrot fly, which causes a rusty condition of the roots often erroneously called ‘canker,’ is the commonest pest.

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