The great big giant parsnip experiment

We love parsnips. I have a fantastic recipe for curried parsnip soup which we eat all winter and there is nothing better than picking your own parsnips and brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner. Parsnips roasted with honey, black pepper and olive oil…yum.

The only problem is that our ground is very stoney and while we do pull up the occasional monster parsnip, most of them look like an octopus.

We were watching a gardening programme last summer (think it was Beechgrove Garden, BBC Scotland’s answer to Gardeners’ World) and one of the presenters was planting his parsnips seeds for competition. He was using a really tall bucket and had various “top secret” blends of compost, the details of which he was not going to share with the viewers.

Mr Mac suggested we try and do the same thing with the broken water butt lying at the bottom of the garden…so we did!

We filled the bottom with gravel and crocs for drainage then filled it to the top with our own compost. Mr Mac made seven holes right to the bottom with a broom handle and we filled the holes with sand. We planted two seeds in each hole with the intention of thinning out the weaker seedling (which I never did…oops!).

Now this took place in August last year, in hindsight probably a bit late. The seeds germinated and then were forgotten about over winter. I started to water them again in the spring and the leaves were growing taller and taller. I thought if the root was half as long as the leaves were tall we were in for a treat.

Then this morning we were having a look at them and decided to pull one out to see how it looked. Here it is…

Disappointed, we pulled out another couple and they were no better. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be trotting off to the village hall to pick up my “best in show” rosette!

We have left the rest of the parsnips in the water butt to see if they grow any bigger. I’ll keep you posted!

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3 responses to “The great big giant parsnip experiment

  1. lovethehomeyfeeling

    Wish you the best of luck with the remaining parsnips!

  2. The perfect size for cooking whole and drizzling with honey. If it’s any consolation, they look clean – my parsnips are always so mud-encrusted.

    Who wants big woody parnsips anyway?

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