I have a problem growing parsnips. They grow well but get attacked by a shoulder rot that renders the top of the parsnip useless. Could you please help.
The problem of shoulder rot is common in Parsnips. Control is by good growing with rotation as it is caused by a fungus to create a canker. Make sure the shoulder of the parsnip is not damaged, especially when using a hoe for weed control - commonly known as hoe blight. Such damage allows disease entry. Wet conditions especially in autumn/winter can be responsible especially where frost can cause damage to the root top. Therefore keep the parsnip well earthed up so its shoulders are covered against such damage. Even a mulch might help. In very wet conditions remember heavy rain can expose the root top. Try several varieties to see which does best in your own situation. Select some ultra clean roots and grow on to seed remembering the flowers are an essential component of bio-diversity within the garden. Fresh home selected seed is probably the best you can get and will ensure a good germination in the spring. Many of these procedures apply to carrots also.