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Old June 18, 2020   #1
JRinPA
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Default Parsnips - overwintering for seed

I picked parsnips in January from the raised bed, but left a handful of them to use to collect seed this year. Then I moved them in spring with big shovel clumps to the head a raised bed. Some of the yellow flowers are just starting to go to seed. I took pics the other day...there is lots of activity going on there!

This is about 6 good sized parsnips plus the pot; I will have 10x too much seed but it is a nice active spot for bugs. I still haven't seen any swallowtail caterpillars like I did last year on the overwintered parsnips. These pics are from a week back when I was trying to ID those soldier beetles. There were ladybugs then, but now there are a bunch and their larvae. I'll have to get some pics of them.
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Old June 20, 2020   #2
Jeannine Anne
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I did that a couple of years ago and self sowed, I had tons come uo the next year, so did my neighbour over the fence.LOL
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Old June 20, 2020   #3
JRinPA
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I took some more pics yesterday. Also some lewd video of ladybugs. I got tired just watching. Never saw that before. I have no idea how to post video from a camera though. Probably a good thing.
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Old June 20, 2020   #4
JRinPA
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Looks like I got a little blister from the parsnips. About 3-4 weeks ago I had two little spots on the back of my left hand that blistered. At the time, I thought it was either splatter from cooking soup, but or contact dermatitis from weeding. Now I have another tiny one, same thing, about 1/4" from one of healed spots. Just looked it up on a web image search and it does look like very minor parsnip burn.

Sounds like it is the sap from a broken stem or leaf, gets on your skin, and then if exposed to sunlight, that causes the irritation. I will have to remember to wash off from now on. Last time the two little spots healed fine, just scrubbing hard with peroxide until they opened. From some of the pics out there, it appears some people must be really allergic to parsnip sap. Thinking about it, it probably happened trying to kill a lantern fly nymph that peeping on the ladybugs.
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Old June 21, 2020   #5
bower
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Those are awesome pics JR. Great flowers on the parsnip, I'll have to do this myself!
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Old June 21, 2020   #6
JRinPA
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Your mooses would probably browse them right off!

One other bit about the parsnips - we still have some in the fridge from January. Forgotten, back of the left side vegetable drawer. They taste really good now, probably sweeter than when I dug them, and such a good flavor. No sign of spoilage.

Last year I had them in the top 10' of that bed mixed with some carrots, red beets, and some of Rajun's okra. This year I don't have a specific patch I planted. I have them sown all over with carrots or radishes/turnips/beets/spinach/sweet potatoes, but I can't say for sure that a lot germinated. Turnips and radishes hide everything else until they are pulled. I should try to get some started very soon before it gets too hot, or maybe start a flat and transplant. I think the cutoff is 70F-75F for germination. Peas will be coming out in a couple weeks. Corn going in. Transplants started now might work to fit them between the double rows of corn, but it would be right by the drip tape...that sounds like it is worth a try. Not sure if they will like the drip tape, but it just be for the summer.
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Old June 22, 2020   #7
VirginiaClay
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I sympathize with you about the phytophotodermatitis. Years ago I had a luxuriant bed of parsnips in my garden and needed to tie back the plants to get them out of the path, so I gathered up big armloads of the greenery, backed into the plants, etc. while doing the tying. Shorts and t-shirt, unfortunately. Then I gardened for several more hours in the hot summer sun. A day later my arms and legs were covered in painful, itchy blisters that became oozing, burning sores which took a couple of weeks to heal. After they healed, they left hyperpigmented (brownish) areas on my skin, and ten years later a little of that is still visible as a reminder. From my experience, you don't actually have to break or crush the plant; just brushing against it can cause the problem. So, parsnip growers beware! I buy my parsnips at the store these days.
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Old June 22, 2020   #8
JRinPA
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That sounds like a lesson learned the hard way.

I've been growing them since 2016 and this was the first time I noticed any irritation from parsnips. I had read a warning back then so I guess I've been careful until now. This year is the most exposure to mature plants, for sure. At this point the two little healed spots just look like new skin, a little lighter than the rest since I develop a heavy tan.
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Old July 9, 2020   #9
JRinPA
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I cut the last of the parsnips down today. The seeds weren't quite finished but they should finish on the stalk. The first finished seeds were only about a week ago and I used them for about 80 row feet, heavily overseeded imo. That was one flower stalk out of all of them..maybe 5% of the seed? 2%? There will be plenty for next year, that is for sure. Amazing numbers of ladybugs and their earlier stages on the stalks. I have all the cut stalks in a big plastic bin under the carport. When the ladybugs are ready to fly, they can go on their way.

The last couple weeks I did get some kind of bug covering up the stalks near the top. I don't know if it was some kind of scale or aphids or something else. Basically brown/gray flecks. Seems I forgot to take a pic. Can try tomorrow, pic of cut stalks. It had been so dry, there was never any rain to wash them off and they flourished for a week. I didn't really want to spray anything due to the good bugs around, but I hit a few outside flower trusses without ladybugs with soap. It seemed to thin them out some
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Old July 9, 2020   #10
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Interesting thread, and great pictures! It's been many years since I grew parsnips, I think I might try them again next year. Nice to have added ingredients for soups and stews. Glad you mentioned the possible sap dermatitis, will keep that in mind.
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Old July 9, 2020   #11
JRinPA
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Next year I may just transplant a couple to a pot. It would be plenty of seed and some bugs. They could be kept more out of the way that way; by the end they blocked the path and I was walking around the bed. That dermatitis is a worry; more so than first year. But I absolutely love that there are so many ladybugs in my back yard!

That spot is the top of my 30ft bed, below it was 26ft of eggplant and peppers under agribon. I removed that today for good. There are larvae, orange cocoons, and ladybugs all over the place. Way more than I have ever seen! And the bee flies were really neat to watch. I have seen a few before, but not so many different kinds or so content to be studied.
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Old July 9, 2020   #12
JRinPA
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I did go ahead and "sow parsnip seed under soaker hose" in my late corn and okra patch. I guess I mentioned it above. Around April 1st, snow peas were sown down the center of 3 parallel~26ft rows. May, peas were trellised. Late May, okra was transplanted on either side of the peas in the back half that floods more. Last week I cut the peas out, raised the bed more with compost, forked, and transplanted corn on the upper half, 3 double rows, same as the okra. Then I added more compost over the short cut pea roots and sowed seed and laid down a soaker hose. The radish seed came up quick. Red beet and parsnips should come up no problem, we finally got rain two days this week. I did end up about 6 ft short on the parsnips, just using that little bit of initial seed, but I overseeded quite a bit and was able to thin out some heavily seeded areas to finish. The amount of parsnip seed generated by that little jungle is probably enough for 5000 ft of row with some regulation. I know the last pack I bought for $2, ran out after about 20ft of row, the way I sprinkle seeds.


When everything else is out and it gets cold hopefully there will be some parsnips up nicely. Radish, redbeets, and parsnips seem to be a good combo for a row to keep the space going.
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