Parsnips are quite difficult to grow, apparently, although I haven’t usually had too many problems. It’s just the time it takes for them to germinate that gets me and I always go back a week too soon and individually sow a few more seeds just to be sure and then, invariably the following week the originals appear in their masses. Such is the story this year but then as we feel you can never have too many parsnips, this isn’t a major problem.
The things to remember with growing parsnips though are:
That you should never be tempted to use the left over seeds from last seas – always use a fresh packet of seeds; and
Despite what it may say on the packet, don’t be tempted to sow outside in February or March. It’s common sense really, seeds don’t like cold weather and in near or sub zero temperatures will take an inordinately long time to germinate and the longer they are in the ground waiting to spring into life the more chance there is that they will rot and your sowing will fail. Wait until April when it will generally be warmer and getting warmer and the seeds will be more grateful and seedlings will, in my experience, appear sooner.
Of course some people start their parsnips of indoors and then plant them out but space is limited for me (the greenhouses and cottage windowsills are already full to bursting with various seedlings awaiting the warmer weather) and so this isn’t an option.
Today, however, a mere 4 weeks after sowing, the first of the parsnips are through. Now all I have to do is keep the root fly, rabbit and assorted other wildlife away from them until October time.