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wondering about parsnip incompatibilities

 
Rick Freeman
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
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From my research, I've found that parsnips may be incompatible with several other plants - which may explain why I've had such a difficult time growing them. But, various reports are conflicting.

Can anyone verify based on your experience whether or not parsnips impede: carrots, celery, lettuce, onion, or tomato?

Likewise, are they impeded by any of these plants?

Thanks for any help.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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The only plants I've actually noticed have a negative relationship are alliums and legumes. And nothing likes fennel much.
I tend to take companion-planting info pretty casually uless repeated experience convinces me (see alliums and legumes...)
The main issues I've seen with parsnips are:
planted out of season
old seed
nitrogen-rich soil (they need to go in at the end of the rotation)
rocky/compacted soil
 
Rick Freeman
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
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Thanks Leila,

Do you think that the problem with legumes is their tendency to raise available N?

I wonder what it is with the alliums that makes them allelopathic. But, several other sources say the same thing. I don't think that was my problem; I can't remember whether or not I planted scallions near them but I don't think I did.

I think my problem may have been old seed. One year I had them coming out of my ears - even enough to keep harvesting through the winter. The next year and the years after, nothing. I did buy new seed, but from a company that has a reputation for sketchy seed. (It was a great company when it was owned by some friends in the Bitterroot but was bought by a ...err... lesser person.)

I love parsnips and want to make them grow. Maybe this year.

I have to laugh when I hear people talk about rotations. My standard rotation is this: short growing season -> hard freeze with several feet of snow -> short growing season -> hard freeze with several feet of snow... and so on, often punctuated by a rainy winter that just turns everything to mush. Right now (late February) I have 2 feet of snow on my garden site.

Anyway, thanks for your insight. I really do appreciate it and I appreciate people sharing their knowledge in general.

Best, Rick
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Hi Rick, looking at your email, I assume you're in Montana? It makes it heaps easier if you display some location info.
Go into 'my profile', open the 'general info' + and put in something in 'location'. I've gone a bit OTT with mine!
My post made it sound like I'm 'Retentive Rotator Woman'
Snow is not one of my issues; disorganisation/laziness is though...I just try to plant the most nutrient-demanding plants after fertilising, the least needy when it's time to do it again.
Can anything make it through the winter in-ground if you mulch like mad? Or to save seed would you need to lift biennials and replant? What a pain! Does garlic cope through winter?
If parsnip seed isn't really fresh, germination can be really bad. Don't be shy about asking for the freshest seed they have.
I don't understand why beans/onions don't get along, but I suppose things would be boring if we all liked each other .
I try to use legumes as a bit of a nitrogen pump: either with plants like corn that just cant get enough, or after umbelliferae.
In case I confused you, legumes tends to go in right at the end at my place, when the nitrogen's at it's lowest. I generally use some for food, some for mulch, carbon, etc, depending on the plant. Do favas grow in your climate? Wonderful plant and handle the cold (remember, I don't get snow, let alone feet of the stuff!)
 
Colin Thomas
Posts: 21
Location: Castlegar, B.C. Zone 6a-6b
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In the book “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” on page 260 is the parsnip profile. It says avoid following carrots, parsley, or celery. For good companions it says bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, radish and for bad companions it says caraway, carrot, celery.

As for nutrient requirement the book states N=high, P=low, K=low which leads me to say plant inoculated bush beans with them.

I will be interplanting my potatoes with parsnips, bush beans, radish, and maybe onions.

I hope this helps.

Colin
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Colin Thomas wrote: As for nutrient requirement the book states N=high, P=low, K=low which leads me to say plant inoculated bush beans with them.
Colin

Weird. All my information states that root crops grown in high-nitrogen soils tend to have lush, insect-attracting tops and not much in the way of bottoms.
 
Rick Freeman
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
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Leila and Colin,

I get so much conflicting information from different sources. LOL. Leads me to believe that some of the key factors aren't yet identified. I suppose some more experimentation is in order.

But, thanks for this great information, because at least if provides material for hypotheses.

I wonder about parsnip and brassica? Or cucumbers? Or cucurbits in general?

Also, I put some location information in my profile.

Thanks, folks. I appreciate the input.

Rick
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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My what-goes-with-what planning is more about how big things get and their growth habits and how long they're in the ground. For example, my brassicas take ages and get huge, so trying to gauge where to plant other long-season veges in relation is a real pain. John Jeavons recommends taking full advantage of time and space in growing and while it can do your head in, thinking about it in multiple dimensions is really useful. eg cabbage creates shade and is hungry, lettuce likes semi-shade and nitrogen-rich soil...that kind of thing.
There's no way I'd ever be organised/retentive enough to maintain 'proper' biontensive gardens.
 
Rick Freeman
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
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Leila,

Yes, I'm fairly acquainted with ecological "stacking" and the edible food forest approach to gardening. Why not let nature do most of the work?

Also, I forgot to address your questions. I'm in a heavy snow belt and while perennials will hold in dormant state, nothing but the evergreens are photosynthesizing between November and mid-March. Snow up to my waist here in the Swan and it's still falling daily.

Next winter, though, I plan to keep a hoop house warm enough for greens as long as possible using a rocket stove. We'll see how that goes. This year I might have been able to pull it off because we haven't had any temps below 0°F, but last year we got down to -30°F... so ya never know. Our sun angle is pretty low by solstice, too, but I'm still interested in seeing what I can do. Love those greens.

Rick
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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