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in Fruit & veg
In March I planted out my parsnip seeds as usual - and previously I've had great success growing them. However, this year not one of them appears to have grown! The three rows of seeds is totally bare of any sign of them. Anyone have any ideas ideas what could have caused this?
Parsnips are notoriously difficult from seed. Actually the problem is that germination is very slow and it's not unknown for gardener's to give up on them and weed them out! Here's a tip I picked up from Gardener's World program... Mix the seed with radish and sow in drills. The radish will germinate very fast and show you where the drill is. As you pull up the radish so the parsnips will germinate. Good luck.
Parsnips are notoriously difficult from seed. Actually the problem is that germination is very slow and it's not unknown for gardeners to give up on them and weed them out! Here's a tip I picked up from Gardeners World program... Mix the seed with radish and sow in drills. The radish will germinate very fast and show you where the drill is. As you pull up the radish so the parsnips will germinate. Good luck.
Parsnips are slow to germinate but there should have been some sign by now. Were the seeds fresh, nikki? Even year-old seeds struggle for viability.
Thanks for the replies. Yes, Italophile the seeds were this years - so very surprised no results at all! Previously I have had great succes with growing them & excellent results. I usually use Gladiator f1 which are a good quality seed. Anyway, I've put some more in and keeping my fingers crossed. I had a word with one or two other allotmenteers and they are having a similar problem? Oh well, there's always next year. Thanks again
Odd. I've grown Gladiator F1 and always had good germination. Maybe you ended up with a dud batch.
I start my parsnips off on damp kitchen paper in a plastic tub on a warm window sill.when a small tail shows you know that seed ready for planting. Some people then carefully put them straight into the ground and some grow???them on in tubes for a while.???
I use a Haxnicks deep root trainer and sow about 4 seeds per station in the greenhouse then thin the weakest out after germination leaving one per station. When the plant roots begin to protrude through the bottom of the trainer I harden them off for about a week & then carefully dib a hole and plant them out in their final positions. Parsnips (as per any root veg) do not like to be transplanted but with the root trainer system it allows for minimal root/soil ball disturbance and the plants grow on without any check.
Beware of gastropods (snails & slugs) though as they will decimate a tray of seedlings overnight if they are not protected.
Thanks for the tips Johntheeng & Johnharding. The kitchen paper method & root trainer, sound like really good ideas. That way I will get to know if the seeds are viable or not - instead of wasting months waiting for them to show themselves through the soil where I've sown them.
I have already tried again & put some more parsnip seeds in the soil, (Yes I know it's very late now - but what have I got to lose?)
Anyway, many thanks again for the tips. I shall definitely use them in the future.
If you don't want to spend out on Root Trainers (they can be quite expensive) collect all the centre tubes of kitchen rolls and toilet rolls, cut them all to the same height and fit them into a framework of some kind to hold them together. Fill them with compost and sow the seeds in them. When they have germinated and grown on to a decent size you can then plant them in their final positions after hardening off, in their tubes, which will rot down in the soil and there will be no damage to the root system or check on the plant's growth.
It normally only takes a few days for the seeds to shoot so keep an eye on them and make sure the paper does not dry out. Good luck.
Thanks once again to both of you. The tips are very much appreciated. And I particularly like the improvising of kitchen/toilet roll centres to use as root trainers. That's a really good idea! Thanks again.