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Just superb, I have always enjoyed the program and didn't think it could get any better, and then this comes along ... Well done indeed, well done.
I'm a first time grower and these tips have been brilliant in helping me know when to plant the various seeds and how to do it properly. thanks Gardeners World!
Make it seem so simple - which I guess it is
Nice and simple - Thank you!
I'm surprised you haven't mentioned two of the most important points to growing good sized, flavourful, unforked parsnips: - a lot of organic matter dug into the soil (or pot) - loosening up the soil by digging deep and well, and removing any stones And another point is that it takes a while for the seeds to germinate, until this time the soil needs to be kept moist and weed free for the best results. I learned the hard way... ;)


Very valid point Evalein, am on it for the best crop of Parsnip (Well my first) for Christmas.
i use kitchen roll tubes to start my parsnip seeds off and when the root reaches the bottom of the tube i make a hole in the ground and drop it in and leave it i always get goo straight parsnips
Excitable Boy

I tried the trick of germinating the parsnip seeds on damp kitchen towel (on a flowerpot tray and covered with clingfilm to retain moisture) for the first time this year. To my surprise almost all of the seeds germinated!!. Very fiddly planting them out without damaging them and looking at them today I see I have a few gaps, but definately more parsnips than gaps unlike previous years. There's still time to do this!

I am from Hampshire (UK), love parsnips, but live in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada (well South of the souther UK). Climate is colder in the winter but like the UK in summer (better this year!) and autumn. Growing parsnips has been a problem due to poor germination of seed and the length of the growing season when the seed is sown in the spring. After trying various methods I have found that the old method of growing is the best. For the past 5 years or so I allow good roots from the past year to grow on and seed (flower/seed July and August). I collect and clean the seed an save it until late November when I sow the seed directly into the ground where it stays all winter. When the snow finally goes the seed are often already coming up and germination is good. This gives me a good plant of seedlings with up to an extra 2 months in the growing season and good yields.

Yes, Excitable Boy, the method that you describe also works for me. I started by germinating the parsnip seed on paper towel in a freezer bag (slightly open) in early May. As soon as the seed sprouted I prepared the soil and made rows, lined them with wetted toilet paper (non-medicated!) and then planted the sprouted seed very carefully with tweezers spaced as I needed them finally. I covered the seeds with sifted soil (my soil contains a lot of rocks). Germination was near 100% and the seedlings were nicely prespaced. Yields were good. I would recommend this method to those who like to plant in the spring.

I find Fall planting easier and it gives an earlier start to the season as the seedlings are up and growing long before I am able to work the soil.


Last year I let my previous years parsnips flower and collected the seed. The plants are gorgeous and well worth putting in the back of the border. They are yellow umbels, on a very pretty foliage. Well worth giving them the space.
Having got half a pint of seed I laid down a generous row in the spring and thined them out.
I took no care in pulling up the spares. I was interested to test the myth (as it turned out) we are all told, that parsnips hate to be disturbed. I plonked a dozen of the thinnings into some cleared soil and left them to it, watering for a couple of days when they were in bright sunlight. They are all doing well and are as happy as the original row of plants. I now wish I had done the rest.
I am in France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Wehave had an abysmally wet spring until the end of June. So this process may not work for me another year without heavy intervention.

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