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?