Exhibition tips for Growing Parsnips
Exhibitionshould be long, straight and unforked. Grow a long variety and sow them as early as you can to get the longest possible growing season. Parsnips are unlikely to be ready for an early summer show but should be large enough for late shows.
If you have a first-class, deep, stone-free and friable loam you will probably be able to produce roots sufficiently good for showing by planting them in the normal way, perhaps just spacing them a little further apart, at 30 cm (12”) intervals. If you are not so lucky, however, you will only be able to produce first-class parsnips by sowing in boreholes.
Use a long straight iron rod to make a conical hole about a metre (3’) deep and about 15 cm (6”) in diameter at the top. Drive the rod into theand work it in small circular movements to make the hole. Space the holes about 30 cm (1’) apart.
Fill the holes with a good, moist sandywhich you have first put through a 1.5 cm (3/4”) sieve. Firm this soil down and then sow in the normal way.
Keep the parsnips well watered throughout the season to prevent cracking, and weed frequently. It is a good idea also to mulch with peat to retain moisture and to keep down.
Harvest the parsnips as late as possible before the show. Be very careful not to damage or scratch them when you dig them up.
The normal number of parsnips to exhibit is six in collections and three in single dishes. Pick large, white, straight roots, all of the same size. They should be well-developed with good shoulders and absolutely blemish-free.
After lifting, cut off the tops about 2.5 cm (1”) from the shoulders and shave off all the root hairs with a sharp knife. Then sponge the roots very carefully, and wrap in wet sacking immediately to keep them fresh so that they look their best when you get to the show.
When you get to the show simply lay the parsnips carefully together on the bench in the form of a pyramid, with three rots at the bottom and one at the top. Adjust the roots so that they are close together with as little daylight between them as possible; turn them round so that any bulges on one root fit into a depression in its neighbour. If necessary, tie them together with a piece of soft string, preferably of the same colour as the parsnips. If displayed in a simple manner like this, they will look even better than they are, without appearing over-fussy.