Tag Archive | Growing Parsnips

Codling Moths And Growing Parsnips

    Last week, I refilled my pheromone trap with a new sticky paper and a ‘lure’, in the hope that it will attract the male codling moths to it.

My pheromone trap

My pheromone trap

After mating, female Codling moths will lay single eggs on fruit and leaves in June and July.  The eggs hatch 10-14 days later and the larvae burrow into the fruit to feed.  They stay there for approximately a month.  After this time they crawl down the trunk and cocoon under loose bark or even tree ties, etc.  The majority will emerge the following spring, however the earliest ones may emerge from their cocoon as adults in August or September and start the cycle again before winter.

Codling moths cause damage to the apple when the larvae tunnel into it and the apple often falls off the tree early.  There is a wonderful picture of a damaged apple on the RHS website here.

Natural pheromones lure male moths into a sticky trap, so they are unable to mate with the female moth.  The trap will only attract the codling moth, so it is not a danger to other wildlife, though small birds have been known to be attracted to the moths and become wedged inside the traps, so if you use one then please check it regularly.


Pheromone traps are supposed to be used as an early sign of codling moth, to indicate how big a problem you have.  This is a photograph of the sticky card that I removed from last years’ pheromone trap on my apple tree:


There does seem to be a lot of moths, but my apples didn’t seem to suffer too badly last year.  So I am happy that the traps are killing the moths that I need to, and I don’t think I will need to do anymore than hang another trap.  I will keep checking this year’s trap regularly.



Other ways to help avoid the codling moth:

Pick up windfall apples and remove fallen leaves asap, just in case they contain the cocoons.

Try and attract birds to your plot as they are great at finding and eating the cocoons (Blue tits especially).

Replace tree ties in autumn in case they contain cocoons.

Don’t kill earwigs as they love to eat codling moth eggs.

In July, cut a 50cm strip of corrugated cardboard and wrap it around your tree trunk approximately 45cm from the ground so the corrugations are vertical.  In autumn when the codling moths are nicely cocooned in the cardboard, remove the cardboard and burn it.  This method is best used on smooth tree trunks.


Hopefully we will all have a better crop of apples to harvest this year, than we did last year.

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Freshly pressed apple juice

Freshly pressed apple juice which I freeze, ready to pop in my daughters lunch boxes.



I thought I would update you on how my parsnips are doing.  I have tried various different methods of growing parsnips over the years, but the one method that seems to work the best is to start the parsnips in kitchen rolls.  You can read how I do this here.


I think that I get a better rate of germination this way and to prove this to you, you can see from the picture below that I have had a 100% germination rate this year.

On the 6th April, I sowed the parsnip seeds in kitchen rolls and put them on my windowsill.  As soon as the seeds germinated I moved them into my cold frame.


I find that toilet rolls are not long enough for parsnip roots, as the root is quite long by the time you actually see the little seed leaves emerge.  If the bottom of root touches anything hard e.g. the seed tray at the bottom of the cardboard tubes, it will cause the root to ‘fork’, so you won’t have straight roots.

I thought I would show you an example of a parsnip seedling that I took out of the compost, the day its seed leaves emerged:


The root is 10cm long already and an average toilet roll is approximately 11cm, so if you use toilet rolls, very soon the root will hit the bottom of the seed tray which will cause it to ‘fork’, which means your parsnip will not be straight.

A couple of weeks ago I planted my seedlings out, just under three weeks after sowing my seeds.  You can see from the photograph below, how long the root is.  The shorter tube (which I didn’t plant as I wanted to use it as a comparison), shows where the root reaches down to in the cardboard tube and the longer tube is there to show the length of an average kitchen roll tube, so you can compare the two together.  So you can see there is still a small arount of room for the root to grow down.


    It is hard work planting the tubes out as you need deep holes, but the compost in the tubes helps to stop the parsnip from ‘forking’ as the root won’t hit any stones or lumps in the soil.


I make sure that none of the cardboard tube is above the surface, or this will act like a wick and dry your compost out.

I think the hard work is worth it when you harvest lovely straight parsnips.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm

A Winter Warming Spicy Parsnip Soup Recipe & The Love Food Hate Waste Website

I’m really really pleased today as a picture of my Mini Christmas Cake is on the home page of the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ website and it links to a page with my recipe on it.  I am so proud and happy to have my recipe on their website, I could burst.

You can find their website here.

If you are visiting my blog for the first time via the above website, welcome.  I hope you enjoy reading my blog.




Parsnips are said to be sweeter after there has been a few good frosts.   So now we have had a few frosts at the allotment, I consider my parsnips ready to be dug up and eaten.


For quite a few years I had a problem growing straight parsnips, as they would always ‘fork’, which means they develop more than one root and they twist and turn as they grow downwards.  They say not to grow carrots and parsnips where you have recently manured, which I did and still they forked.

The way I grow my parsnips now is by sowing the seeds in kitchen rolls, in my greenhouse, until they germinate.  Once they germinate, I plant the kitchen roll into my allotment soil with the germinated seed still inside.  This way my parsnips are nearly all large and straight, without forking.

Below is a photograph of the parsnips that I dug up to use in the following Spicy Parsnip soup recipe.

I put a ruler next to one of the parsnips to prove to you that it was an incredible 44cm long.  I was very proud of this parsnip:



The recipe I have written today is Spicy Parsnip Soup.  I love this soup as it is really thick and warming and great on a cold winters day.

I think this soup is so special,  I served it as a starter on Christmas day last year.  I made it on Christmas Eve and just reheated it on Christmas day.  I served it with a swirl of double cream on the top and it looked fabulous.

Everyone really enjoyed the soup.



Spicy Parsnip Soup


1.1 Kg Parsnips peeled and chopped

2 Medium onions chopped

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 pints of boiling water

1 vegetable stock cube

2 tablespoons lemon juice


Heat the olive oil and fry the onions until they are starting to soften.


Put the parsnips, cumin, garam masala and ground ginger into the pan and fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the boiling water  and crumble the vegetable stock cube into the pan and stir.


Cover the pan and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, until the parsnips are soft.


Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in a liquidizer.  Add more water if the soup is too thick for you.


Reheat the soup and then add the lemon juice.


Serve with some nice homemade bread.


Thank you for reading my blog today.