How to grow parsnips from seed

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Feb

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Feb, Mar

Parsnips can be difficult to germinate, but they're well worth the extra effort. Follow our simple steps to pre-germinating parsnip seed to ensure bigger yields, and look forward to parsnips roasted for the Christmas table, or in warming winter soups.

You will need

  • Parsnip seeds e.g. 'Gladiator F1'
  • Plastic bag
  • Seed compost
  • Trowel or draw hoe
  • String

Advertisement

Part-fill a plastic bag with moist seed compost and empty your seed packet onto the surface. There is no point in successionally sowing parsnips as you don't need to harvest them all in one go. What's more, parsnip seed stays viable for only one year, so saving seed could lead to wasting it.

Mix the seed and compost together so the seed is evenly distributed in the bag. Tie the top of the bag together and place in a dark, warm spot such as your airing cupboard. Leave for around four days. 

After around four days, remove the bag from the airing cupboard and check on your seeds. They should have germinated, and small seedlings will be poking out of the compost.

Make a shallow trench in well-prepared soil with stones removed. Remove the seedlings from the bag and place them 10cm apart in the trench. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water with a watering can with a fine rose attached. The seedlings should continue to grow in their new growing positions. 

Advertisement

Sow seed in June for a crop of tender, baby parsnips at Christmas.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to grow aubergines

How to grow leeks from seed

How to grow onions from seed

Related offers

FREE P&P

Grow your own kale

Enjoy free p&p, worth £4.95, when you buy kale 'Nero di Toscana' - you can buy 30 plants for just £10.90. It's easy to grow with a delicious flavour.

Use code: GWD17JUN

Order now

FREE P&P

Broccoli 'Ironman'

Broccoli 'Ironman' has excellent disease resistance, uniform heads and great flavour. Enjoy free p&p, worth £4.95, when you buy this variety at DT Brown.

Use code: GWD17MAY

Order now

Offer

Subscriber only content

Save £6 on strawberries

Heavy-cropping mid-summer variety 'Sweetheart', and new late-season 'Cupid', together will produce an extra long crop of delicious strawberries. Save £6 on the collection with this offer.

Unlock now