There’s nothing quite like homegrown carrots and parsnips with your Sunday roast. If you want to grow your own root veg, we’ve gathered some of the best independent YouTube videos, articles and Instagram posts to get you off to a good start. Here’s everything you need to know to grow the perfect crunchy crop.
Raring to grow your own classic heritage varieties and robust hybrids? Stock up on carrot and parsnip seeds from our colourful range of high quality veg.
Karen – @welliesandwaffles
“Having done a taste comparison between them all side-by-side, I’d say the flavour gets earthier as you go along the colours through to purple,” says Instagrammer Karen. After growing her own rainbow harvest, Karen recommends the yellow and orange carrot varieties for their super sweet flavour. Follow her at @welliesandwaffles for plenty of fantastic allotment content.
Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan
“Order fresh parsnip seeds each year to get the very best crop,” says Thompson & Morgan’s expert Sue Sanderson in her article on how to grow parsnips. The seeds have a relatively short viability period so using brand new seeds ensures you get the best possible germination rate. Read Sue’s full article for her favourite parsnip varieties.
Ben Vanheems – GrowVeg
Carrots don’t like being transplanted so it’s best to sow them directly into their final growing position outdoors, says Ben Vanheems at GrowVeg’s YouTube channel. He recommends mixing the tiny seeds with dry sand to get a more even spread within each row. Ben’s video is full of advice on all things carrot growing so give it watch before you sow.
Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan
Thin out your seedlings gradually, says expert Sue Sanderson. Thinning in stages over a few weeks gives you spare seedlings as insurance against slug or snail attacks, whilst ensuring your roots still have room to swell. Read Sue’s guide to growing your own carrots at Thompson & Morgan to see why thinning is essential.
John – Allotment & Gardens
“The carrot fly is attracted by the smell of carrots [and parsnips], which can be particularly strong when you have been thinning them,” says John in his info-packed article at Allotment & Gardens. Remove thinned seedlings straight away, and use a protective barrier like fleece or enviromesh to cover the crop, he says. Head over to John’s article for more tips to help you avoid carrot fly.
Canker disease looks like a dark rot on the top of your parsnips, says no-dig expert and YouTuber Charles Dowding. If you’ve suffered from canker or carrot root fly damage on a previous crop, choose a resistant variety like parsnip ‘Gladiator F1’, and try sowing your seeds a little later, like the first week of June. You’ll need to water a little more, and you’ll get slightly smaller parsnips, but it might help, says Charles. Watch his video on growing no-dig parsnips to find out more.
Lee – Project Diaries
You can grow carrots in a container, says YouTuber Lee of Project Diaries. Just sieve your compost well before sowing to remove any bark or grit, he says. Fine soil encourages long straight roots whereas grit can make your roots fork or split as they grow. Get your container grown carrots off to a flying start by watching Lee’s video.
Liz Zorab – Byther Farm
Do you want really long and straight parsnips? Don’t water after the first week, says award-winning homesteader Liz Zorab. (Unless the weather is very dry, she adds!) Over at Byther Farm, Liz grows her parsnips in a no-dig raised bed system. See how she harvests her huge roots without any digging whatsoever in this excellent parsnip growing video.
Carol Bartlett – The Sunday Gardener
You can harvest your carrots as soon as you think they’re big enough to eat, says Carol of The Sunday Gardener. For super sweet lunchbox-sized roots, try picking them early as ‘baby’ carrots. Or, If you’d like to store your roots, let them mature to a good size before pulling, she says. Read her full article for more top harvest tips.
Jenny – @jenny_grows_veggies
Over at @jenny_grows_veggies, the parsnips are swelling nicely and the temptation to pull them is almost overwhelming! But, says allotmenteer Jenny, “I remember the very first bit of allotmenting advice I was given – wait until the first frost.” Scroll through Jenny’s Insta feed to see her wacky and wonderful carrot harvest, too.
Simon – Gardening at 58 North
Get a bonus extra crop from your carrots by regrowing the leaves, says Simon at his YouTube channel Gardening at 58 North. Use a small pot of compost to re-grow your carrot tops and enjoy plenty of fresh greens for whipping up into a tasty treat. Watch Simon’s time lapse video to see how his carrot greens grow.
Have a go at saving your own parsnip seeds with YouTuber Huw Richards. Leave two plants to flower as pollination partners at the edge of the bed where they won’t get in the way of the rest of your crop if they flop over, he says. Huw demonstrates how to extract, dry and store your parsnip seeds in his friendly video: ‘How to Save Parsnip Seeds’.
Ready to sow your own tasty root veg? Take a look at our parsnip and carrot hub page for top varieties and plenty of recipes to make your future harvest work hard in the kitchen. Share your creations with us using the #YourTMGarden hashtag.
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