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How to grow parsnips from seed


Parsnips need a really long growing season but they're well worth the wait. Sow seeds early in the year and look forward to parsnips roasted for the Christmas table, or in warming winter soups.

How to do it

Sowing parsnip seeds

1Using string as a guide and a trowel or draw hoe, dig a shallow trench about 15mm deep.

Sowing parsnip seeds

2Sow seeds individually along the row or in groups of two or three at regular intervals, about 10cm apart. You could use a pre-marked board for accurate spacing.

Thinning out parsnip seedlings

3Thin out the weaker seedlings to give your plants room to grow, so you're left with just one plant every 10cm.

Adam's tip

In warmer districts and on light soils, try to sow the parsnip seeds in February and March. If you have a clay soil, wait until the end of March
For best results, warm soil beneath cloches for a couple of weeks before sowing
Sow seed in June for a crop of tender, baby parsnips at Christmas.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow parsnips from seed
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Beezling 24/11/2011 at 15:27

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.

debbiepem 24/11/2011 at 15:28

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!

Tony_the_Digger 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Make it seem so simple - which I guess it is

Sammo Hoi 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Nice and simple - Thank you!

Evalein 24/11/2011 at 15:29

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... ;)

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