FOOD

In the oc­to­ber rocket, mar­jo­ram, dill and chives. Herbs pack such a punch of good­ness and nu­tri­tion that in­cor­po­rat­ing them into our daily diet is an ex­cel­lent idea. gar­den

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Country Smile -

Get­ting your parsnips and car­rots in a row

There are plenty of spring greens to munch on and it’s time for plant­ing and sow­ing of the more hardy crops over the next few weeks. The soil is prob­a­bly still not warm enough for the likes of heat-loving melons and pep­pers, but main root crops such as pota­toes, car­rots and parsnips can all be started if you haven’t done so al­ready.

We grow parsnips and car­rots side by side as they re­quire sim­i­lar con­di­tions and are har­vested over the win­ter months. Both these crops re­quire a well dug, fer­tile soil and need plenty of at­ten­tion while they es­tab­lish. Weed­ing is on­go­ing for the first few weeks un­til the leaves shadow the ground, and thin­ning is an­other im­por­tant step so they can all reach a good size. We thin our car­rots about three times and each time use the thin­nings in sal­ads so there is min­i­mal wastage, plus if the horses are nearby they look plead­ingly over the fence, know­ing that tasty good­ies are likely to come their way.

Parsnips can be tricky when it comes to ger­mi­na­tion and there are all sorts of things that can help them along such as pour­ing hot water along the row when first planted and keep­ing a board over the row to main­tain mois­ture. This needs to be mon­i­tored daily and the board re­moved the in­stant there is ger­mi­na­tion, oth­er­wise the parsnips are a long, leggy and spindly-look­ing lot that tend to shrivel up.

Then it’s about main­tain­ing weed con­trol, mois­ture and wait­ing for the yum­mi­ness to grow.

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