Huge Parsnip in Garden

This is the first year that I've tried to grow parsnips. I wasn't really sure how it would go because my history of growing root vegetables and tubers (carrots, potatoes, rutabagas etc.) hasn't really been stellar. Over the last few years though, we've worked hard to enrich and lighten our soil and have had better and better results each year, so I figured it was worth trying some parsnips this year too.

I planted 2 or 3 different batches of parsnip seeds throughout the spring and early summer. Except for some damage from swallowtail caterpillars in the summer, I didn't really have any problems with them and they grew well. I let the caterpillars munch away and the parsnips seemed to be ok with it. Once the swallowtails were done munching, the parsnips got back to growing and they eventually grew to about 3 feet tall.

Now, everything I've read says that parsnips will taste better and be sweeter if they've been exposed to a few frosts, so I've allowed most of my parsnips to stay in the ground all summer and well into the fall. Yes, we've eaten a few, but most are still in the ground.

We've now had a few frosts, so I decided to dig a few for dinner last night. But I ended up digging only one single, solitary parsnip yesterday because ....

It. Was. Huge!

Not only was it humugous, but it had all kinds of crazy tentacle looking roots coming out of it ... it looked a little like the Davy Jones' tentacle beard in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Growing Big Parsnips

I hauled my monster parsnip back to the house, washed it off, weighed it (it weighed four and a half pounds with another 2 pounds of greens), and set about peeling and chopping it up for dinner. I was a little worried that it might be woody, but most of it was soft & tasty.

ps -- While it was cooking, I went online to further research "large" parsnips. I found that the world record for parsnips is 18+ pounds, so maybe my 4 1/2 pounder isn't really that big?

Nov 22 2014
Posted in: Vegetables

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