They have been good; very good; but they were only ever intended as a catch-crop to make the most of the space until the other crops got going.
Earlier in the year, the germination rate of my sowings of Parsnips and Beetroot was not very good, so I sowed another batch to fill in the gaps. My intention had been to have a sort of staggered double-width row of each one rather than just a single line of them, because I thought this would make best use of the space. That didn't really happen:
What you are seeing there is Beetroot on the left, then a line of widely-spaced Basil plants (put in to replace the Radishes), then the Parsnips, and finally (at the right) the Turnips. The Basil plants went in immediately after the Radishes came out - I don't like to leave any space un-utilised! As you can see, some of them are Green Basil and some of them are Purple.
Here are some close-ups of the Beetroot "row". This part looks OK, with a decently staggered row in evidence. (Note Basil plant at right)
Here you can see the difference in size between the two sowings.
I'm sure the need for the second sowing will turn out to have been a blessing in disguise because it will mean I have Beetroot available for harvest over a longer period than would otherwise have been the case. The photo demonstrates quite well how when sowing Beetroot you usually get at least two plants in each "station" because what we think of as seeds are actually clusters of several seeds. For this reason it is normally necessary to thin-out the seedlings once they get big enough to handle easily.
The Parsnips are still pretty small, but that's to be expected. They always grow very slowly, and they won't be ready for harvesting until September / October at the earliest.
The ones in the photo above are at about the best size for thinning out. After thinning they should be about 4" to 6" apart, to allow the roots to develop to a decent size. If you were to leave them as close together as they are in my photo they would still grow OK, but each root would be quite small. I generally reckon it is better to have a smaller number of larger Parsnips rather than lots of small ones, since the latter are quite fiddly to prepare for culinary use.
When thinning seedlings - Parsnips, Beetroot, Carrots or whatever - remember to water the soil about half an hour before you intend to do the job. Moistening the soil will reduce root disturbance stress for the ones that are to remain. And don't forget that the thinnings, especially of Beetroot, are often nice to eat as salad ingredients.
My Carrots are looking good too, though nowhere near ready for harvesting:
That wooden planter is now almost exactly two years old, and it's looking pretty weathered already. I don't think it was made of top quality seasoned timber! When it was new, in June 2011 I wrote in a blogpost "The prize was a lovely timber "Bamburgh" table-style planter, made of sturdy timber and guaranteed to last 15 years." Oh yeah?