|Carrots and Forked Parsnips|
On the left carrots, on the right parsnips. It is noticeable that the white carrot has surpassed its brother parsnips, and that the parsnips are all forked.
To go back to spring, I tried a bit of an experiment this year growing the parsnips in root trainers (or more precisely toilet rolls). As soon as the roots showed any sign of outgrowing their container I transplanted them out into a prepared bed. My method of preparation was to make a tailor made conical hole for each plant with a stick (I didn't have a crowbar handy) and fill it with a mixture of soil, sand and compost. I avoided animal manure as this is known to cause forking. I had it on good authority that this is how show parsnips are grown. My results are rubbish, and worse, no good for the table. Next year its back to the tried and trusted method: Sow outdoor in March. Thin out and weed, but absolutely no transplanting. You live and learn. Now what are we going to do about our homegrown parsnips for Christmas Dinner tradition?
Just to show you the difference, here's a:
Link to Parsnip from 2011
Link to Parsnip in 2010