Latest posts by dibsmft

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Parsnip problems

Posted: 30/06/2014 at 17:12

I have posted on this before but I will mention it again. I live in Newfoundland&Labrador (Canada). We have a long cold Winter and a late Spring. Being a parsnip lover, I have tried various methods of growing them but the main difficulty here is getting fresh seed and starting them early enough. Most years I cannot get the garden started until mid-May.  The answer that I have found is to grow my own seed by leaving two or three roots in the ground each year and collecting the seed when it ripens (August-September). I then clean the seed and keep it in a cool dry place until late November just before the first snow when I prepare the ground and sow the seed.  When the snow finally disappears in the Spring (April but sometimes later in a bad year) the parsnip may already be up or will soon appear and grow on as normal. The best variety I have found for this is "White Gem" as my soil is not very deep and a bit rocky.

If this method works here then it should work in the UK where the climate is warmer. Perhaps it might be better to leave the sowing there until late December so that the seed do not germinate too early.


Talkback: How to grow parsnips from seed

Posted: 12/07/2012 at 13:20

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.


Talkback: How to grow parsnips from seed

Posted: 12/07/2012 at 12:27

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.

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