Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Monday, 28 February 2011

Growing Parsnips


Although Parsnips can withstand cold weather, they are notoriously slow to germinate and in practice I have found it better to wait and sow in March when it is warmer.

Parsnips like rich, slightly heavy soil, well dug but NOT recently manured (as, like carrots, they will fork if the soil is TOO rich)

As soon as you can dig the bed over and produce a fine tilth, the conditions are fine for planting parsnip seed in the ground ( if the weather allows you to get a fine tilth, its warm and dry enough!)

Parsnips take a long time to grow BUT you can get a worthwhile crop even if they are sown in late spring. MAKE SURE you use fresh this year seed, because parsnip seeds do not keep well. If you HAVE to use last years seed, pre sprout it to check for viability ( put on damp kitchen paper and watch it sprout, then snip the paper up so a bit has a sprouted seed on it and then plant the paper)



Follow the instruction on the seed packet about how/where to sow, and you may as well be generous as the seed doesn't keep well....

I plant some outside but at least half of my parsnips are planted in loo roll tubes

Lightly cover the seeds with more growing medium and water well.

Transplant into their final position in the ground AS SOON as the seed has germinated ...If you leave it too long the tap root emerges from the bottom of the tube and, when transplanted, may be damaged. This won't hurt the plant BUT you will get a smaller, forked root!



So, make sure you have the parsnip bed ready for planting, if you decide to follow the "tube" idea!

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