Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ok, so I tried parsnips this year in my garden. In the interest of garden note-taking, I'm posting about my experience this year and my thoughts to do differently for next year.
First, my little 3 foot row was about right, at least for now. We don't eat a ton of parsnips, when they are big and sweet we'll roast them with other root veggies. Smaller tougher ones will be snuck into soups and such occasionally, but that's about it.
They looked like they were growing well. Which is good, because it's incredibly hard to find any other variety than the "All American" or whatever it's called. I don't know what I would have done if that one variety didn't do well here. :-D
Astute readers will have noticed my use of the word, "looked." I haven't actually managed to harvest one yet. :-D Yea, I'm special. My plan, such as it was, included a digging up a couple after the first of the frost. I totally missed my window though. I went out this weekend to take a stab at getting a few out of the ground and was totally defeated. The ground is frozen solid, I chipped my way down to the top of one of the parsnips, and it looked like a good sized top, but I couldn't dig down enough to get the root out. I reburied the top with dirt and snow and we're now working with plan B.
Plan B is me digging them up in early Spring. Early early spring, like as soon as the ground unfreezes I'm going to be out there. My gardening book says early spring is a valid harvest time for Parsnips. I'm hoping that holds true in Zone 4. The sad part of Plan B is that I can't munch on parsnips with all of the potatoes we're eating right now. The nice part is there will be even fewer fresh veggies in the early spring, so maybe they'll be a bit of a treat. I've even read that the extra cold time will make them sweeter. We'll see.
Next year, I need to space them out a bit more, I crowded them too close to my carrot row, and between the parsnips and the kale, (which was also too close) I lost my carrot crop. Next year it might be nice to dig at least half before the ground freezes shut.
If I'm feeling really adventurous I might try keeping one or two in the ground this spring and see if they'll re-sprout and put on some seed. We'll see how much space I have to play with.