I went out and thinned out some of the radishes this afternoon, and I thought I’d share some pictures as well as a few thoughts on interplanting radishes and parsnips.
The radishes were very thick and needed to be thinned whether there were parsnips hiding underneath or not! Given the crazy spring, the radishes aren’t yet at full size, but we needed to get some more sunlight to the parsnips anyway.
This is what the first few inches looked like after I pulled out several radishes. It is pretty tedious work, especially since the radishes are so thick. I had to be extremely careful not to uproot the parsnips. I tried to leave some radishes to get larger, but I pulled the ones that were too close to the parsnip seedlings.
In case you weren’t sure what the true leaves on parsnips look like, this is it. For something in the carrot family, the leaves definitely don’t look very carroty. They are much more reminiscent of parsley, actually.
This is what the final thinned rows look like. The plants do look pretty floppy at the moment, but they should straighten up in a day or two. I tried to gently tamp the soil around the roots of all the plants, since I was disturbing them by pulling radishes.
A few thoughts on the whole project:
1. It is very tedious to remove the radishes without damaging the parsnips! It is probably not worth it to do this unless you don’t have the space to plant them separately.
2. The timing doesn’t work out as well as I had hoped, BUT that could just be the crazy spring-winter-spring-summer-winter-spring we are having. Ideally the radishes would have been completely pulled out by now.
3. I think the optimal way to do this type of planting would be to plant the parsnips very thickly (maybe as much as 1.5x as many seeds as ideal) and to plant the radishes very thinly (1/2 as many seeds as normal). That way you wouldn’t have to be as careful pulling out the radishes and worrying about losing too many parsnip plants in the process.
Have any of you tried this type of thing before? Did it work out?
Hey, look what I found out in the garden this morning?
Those little, tiny pairs of kinda pointy leaves? Those are the parsnip seedlings! They have survived quite the weather fluctuation so far. (The bigger seedlings with the pink stems are the radishes.) Obviously, with our lovely weather, the radishes aren’t quite as big as we hoped they would be by this time. If we can just stay semi-warmish for a few days, those radishes should really take off! We will have to be careful when it gets around to harvest.
This afternoon we did the very first planting of the spring out in the Demo Garden. That planting encompassed 3 different garden areas.
First, we planted some onion transplants in the Pizza Garden.
The we put the onion plants in about 3″ apart. We have one row of red onions and one row of Texas 1015Y yellow onions. We tamped the soil around the plants, and then replaced the straw mulch that had been in the garden from last fall.
We are planting right along the drip lines this year to help keep everything watered with potential continuing drought. The sandy soil in the raised beds doesn’t move the water as well laterally, so we want the seeds to have the best chance to germinate and keep growing. We planted two rows of Easter Egg Mix radishes along this drip line (one on each side, about 1.5″ away from the drip line). On the other drip line we planted 2 rows of carrots, one row of ‘Mokum’ and one row of Kaleidoscope Mix. Along the middle drip line we will be transplanting some lettuce in a couple of weeks.
Then we moved over to Bed 3, which is the Fall Root Vegetables & Greens garden this year. (It is full of garlic right now, except for this end section.) We planted about 4 1/2 feet along each of the three drip lines. As in the other garden, we planted one row on each side of each drip line. We did extend past the end of the drip lines, if for no other reason than to see what difference it makes in germination and growth.
We planted radishes and parsnips in this section of this garden, and we did something a little different with it. We actually planted BOTH the radishes and the parsnips in each row. This is something that I’ve heard recommended before (and I think my dad has done it…? I can’t remember.) Basically, the biggest challenge with parsnips is that they are extremely slow to germinate. It can take 2-4 weeks for them to show the first leaves, and even then they are very small leaves. In contrast, the radishes will germinate, grow, and be ready to harvest in about 4 weeks. The radishes will help us keep track of the rows, make sure we water sufficiently, and keep the soil loose to aid in the parsnips germinating. (We may also get some help thinning as we harvest radishes!) That’s the theory, anyway. The parsnips will continue growing all summer, all fall, and possibly through the winter. Parsnips are supposed to be the sweetest after they have gone through the winter.
Anyway, it will be fun to see how they do!
This garden is currently planted to garlic with about 5 feet on one end open for something this spring. Then the area that is currently garlic will be planted with other greens and root vegetables in the late summer to early fall.
In the open end this spring, we are going to plant parsnips and radishes together. The biggest challenge with parsnips is that they generally take about 3 weeks to germinate. Often they don’t get sufficient water or attention throughout that period to have good germination. They can also get lost in weeds if you aren’t careful. We are going to be co-seeding to try to beat that problem. We will plant the parsnips and then thinly seed radishes in the same row. The radishes should be ready to harvest in about 4 weeks, just as the parsnips are showing up. We’ll see if the technique works!
You can see that I have 3 horizontals rows in each section, rather than going perpendicular to the bed. We are going to be planting right along the drip lines, since most of these vegetables have small seeds that need to stay moist. Because of that, we chose during planning to plant 3 varieties of each thing…one variety next to each drip line.
There are some fun varieties in this garden…Black, pink, and white fall radishes. Purple, round orange, and yellow carrots. Gold, pink & white striped, and cylinder-shaped beets. Red, yellow, and white turnips. Three parsnip varieties, each of which claims to be “the sweetest” variety. It will be colorful this fall, even if only the worms appreciate it!