When my kids were young I made up a now legendary (in our family at least) story that I told them at bedtime about the Potato Men….potatoes that lifted themselves out of the ground at night in our garden and how they invaded the local area….
Well, it seems that there’s a parsnip men story in the making too….caught these in the garden about to escape! (or it could just be frost heave in the course of the winter!)
Nothing compared to the monsters that can be grown in the UK, but this is just about the largest parsnip (pastinakk) I’ve harvested here. This is both due to our short, cool summers, but also my shady garden contributes to lower yields. Yesterday, I hacked my way through the frozen soil with an iron bar to harvest my parsnips and despite the cold autumn the yield was surprisingly good, very satisfying work!! Back in the 80s and 90s, the only people I knew growing this here were ex-pat Brits. For us, christmas wouldn’t be christmas without roasted parsnip! Despite lower yields, it is still definitely worth growing parsnips here, just grow them more densely to increase the yield (similarly, I always grow leeks 3 together as the cool short season limits the size of them). Only two years ago, the national gardening club wrote: “Parsnip is a root vegetable that is not well known, but it has many common features with hamburg parsley. The yellow-white root is both strong and sweet in taste and can be used in several different dishes, especially in ratatouille it does well!”
Another vegetable that there isn’t any tradition of growing here, despite the ease of growing it is broad bean (bondebønne), traditionally animal feed.
Planted my garlic and sowed parsnip today on my 33 year old raised beds. No wooden edges, just raised using the soil where the paths are and adding compost year after year and never treading on the beds. The beds are about 1.2m wide so that I can reach into the middle from the paths. Note the diagonal planting which allows you to plant rows closer and increase yield!
I finally got the garlic planted today after a week of rain and temperatures up to +10C had melted most of the frost in the soil!
Here are the garlic sorted for planting. This year’s varieties : Aleksandra, Estonian Red, Lochiel, Ävrö, Cledor, Thermidrome, Early Purple Wight and Vallelado (the picture shows all the varieties sorted and ready to plant!). I also planted topsets of varieties with large bulbils to bulk them up (planted close together)!
Some had sprouted as I had harvested them too late…it will be interesting to see if they all make it through the winter! I planted deep this year at about 10cm so that can settle in before the next cold spell!
I also sowed parsnip (pastinakk) today!
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden