How to Grow No Dig Parsnips

No dig sowing and growing is simple and rapid. Harvesting parsnips however, may require a spade, depending on your soil. Parsnips grow best in moist, temperate climates and they can become large, making a significant store of food during the winter.

Just from my own observations, and working with different soils over the years, I think forking is less to do with nutrients, and stones, although can be the latter depending more on soil type, but is actually more a water issue. After all, I grow my Parsnips next to my Beans every year without issue, and my carrots wherever I have space, in well maintained beds. It’s often said to not water roots so much, because you want them to go down and search for water. However, people generally don’t water enough to start with, especially when using raised beds and compost. This allows mediums to become hydrophobic. It may look wet on the surface, but underneath will remain completely dry, so if your area is not close to the water table to start with, the roots have nothing to search for. This is what creates large side roots. They’re searching for surface water. Other plants do it all the time, it’s just assumed that roots don’t, and yet wild versions do exactly this. We’ve just messed about with cultivated food versions to try controlling the tap root, and prevent it. Perhaps, what we’re seeing, when you get an extreme version, is a throw back in genetics to the wilder nature of the plant.