Sunday, 27 May 2007

Trying to grow parsnips

I've had my allotment for over ten years now and I've still not found out how to get a reliable crop of parsnips.
The photo shows a part of my allotment I have yet to clear from last year and you can see that as well as loads of weeds and foxgloves there are a lot of self seeded parsnips now coming up to flower, proof that parsnips can grow here. Last year I sowed parsnips from saved seed and got a good crop. This year I sowed some at the beginning of March. I know they can be slow to germinate, but after several weeks had passed and nothing was visible I sowed some more in another part of the plot. Nothing at all has come from either sowing.
I've found this before, some years I get a good crop, then encouraged by my success I sow loads the next year and get virtually nothing. I am hoping that a few self seeded plants will grow and I will just garden round them so that at least I have a few parsnips for next winter.
I wonder if any gardeners have any thoughts about this. I let three or four plants go to seed each year and collect seed from each to get a mixture. Could it be the way the seeds are stored, in a glass jam jar in the garage, cool but not that cold ? Would the seeds be better in the fridge -do parsnips need a cold spell?
Any advice would be most welcome because I really like parsnips!


nĂ  said...

hello! i wandered on over here from vintage pretty and had to comment about your parsnips! i brought some seeds over here to italy from the uk and we planted them in the allotment. it took months. but the packet said that it is meant to take months. don't abandon them! keep watering them! i can't remember the time of year we planted and the time we harvested but if my boyfriend can remember i shall let you know. but i do remember the loooong wait! so hang in there! home-grown parsnips are worth it! good luck!

Moonroot said...

I have read that parsnips are notoriously slow to germinate, so you may just have to hang on. Having said that, I've never successfully grown any myself so I'm probably not the best person to be giving out advice!

willow said...

A Parsnip update! I have two small seedlings. I will look after them very carefully!