HOW TO PLANT PARSNIPS:
Parsnips are a root vegetable with a delicious, sweet flavor. They can be planted from spring through early fall. And because frost helps sweeten the roots and they can handle the cold, they can be left in the ground for an ongoing harvest through the winter.
One of biggest keys to success in organic gardening is the condition of the soil. There needs to be adequate organic matter to hold moisture and nutrients. And at the same time, the soil needs to be loose enough for good aeration and drainage, which will help promote strong root development.
It is relatively easy to grow parsnips if your soil has the proper nutrients. People always assume their soil is average, but unless you have a soil test it is just a guess. More often than not, it is necessary to amend the soil to achieve optimum pH balances, as well as the proper levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Testing your soil is ideal; however, at a bare minimum, before planting anything, work in at least 2-4” of organic mulch and at least one-half inch of finished compost into your topsoil. If you suspect your soil is less than ideal, mix in a cup of Mega-Veggie if you feel your soil is in great condition, 2 cups if in good condition and 3 cups if in poor condition, into every 100 sq. ft. of soil. This 100% organic soil amendment will make up for a lot of deficiencies.
Also, mulching with compost or straw will help keep the soil moist and also help to feed the plant and prevent weeds. Don't mulch over 3-4" because this might prevent oxygen from entering the soil and could cause root rot.
Planting from seed: Plant after the hard freeze season is over. Plant seeds 1/2” deep in rich soil, then water with seaweed solution. This will help germinate the seed and promote root growth. Space 5” apart in rows, with 12” between rows. If planting in raised beds, plant 6” on center.
After planting, continue to feed seaweed once a week by spraying leaves, and fish emulsion every two weeks through root feeding until harvest (or every week for large varieties). I use a hose sprayer for fish, but just make sure you spray enough so that the roots of the plants are soaked. If fish gets on the leaves, don’t worry, it won’t burn the leaves.
Side dress with two tablespoons every 2 weeks (or one cup every month for large varieties) of Mega-Veggie around the base of the plants and water in. Continue the seaweed once a week along with fish emulsion every two weeks (or every week for the large varieties). Do not let the soil dry out; soil should be moist but not soggy.
Recommended Schedule for Fertilizing and Amending Soil:
1. Seaweed -- at planting and once a week until harvest
2. Fish Emulsion -- every two weeks after planting until harvest
3. Mega-Veggie – every 2 weeks until harvest
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