Unruly parsnips & possible canker?

Well I’ve done it again, I’ve grown weird and whacky looking parsnips, huge great gnarly things that look totally unrespectable. I have to admit, I’m a bit surprised. I really thought that by going no dig this year I might finally grow a nice, normal shaped parsnip. But no, they’re just the same as every other year. I don’t really mind because they still taste great and I’m a big parsnip fan so I just see lots of tasty winter roasts ahead of me. But it would be nice to pull a pretty parsnip out of the ground one year.

I think most would suggest that either the soil is too rich (which doesn’t add up if Charles Dowding grows beauties in his rich soil using no dig!) or too stony or that the problem is cos I grew them from transplants (Rocket Gardens ones of course). So, I feel a little 2019 experiment coming along – growing both transplants and directly sown parsnips in a no dig, rich bed of compost, and the same again in a well dug bed with no compost/organinc matter added. Let’s see what happens. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait about a year for the results to be in!

The other thing, is that my parsnips nearly always have a rotten, slightly orange brown patch at the top of the root. I think this is canker, a fungi driven disease, and I’ve been reading up on it. Apparently it is much more common in heavy soils with poor drainage. Well, that definitely describes my veg patch although I’d have hoped that my no dig method this year would have kept it at bay. Once it has taken hold there’s nothing that can be done to reverse it, and the only real option is to pull them up and use them as soon as possible. I’m not too bothered by it though – they’re such big roots I still have loads from one parsnip even once I’ve cut off the affected parts.