Honestly, I haven’t had that much success with Parsnips in the past. I have either sown them too early (no germination) or too late (very small Parsnips). Or slugs have eaten them, or they have just plain failed. This year I’m trying again and hoping that now my garden is literally on my doorstep that I can tend them sufficiently well to produce something edible.
I’ve read several tips on how to grow them successfully. The first is to use fresh seed. Apparently, Parsnip seed is notoriously flaky when it comes to germination and if the seed isn’t fresh then you run the risk of very patchy growth after weeks of waiting. So, I bought some seed of the Tender & True variety and cracked it open.
The second piece of advice I found was to sow the seed in a hole made with a dibber and filled with seed compost. It seems that Parsnips (like Carrots) have a hard time breaking through tough soil and so like to be sown in a bed of nice soft compost.
The third piece of advice is to wait, wait, go and make a cup of tea and wait some more. Parsnips are not exactly early starters so expect to wait some weeks before you even see a glimmer of germination. Some people even say you can sow a catch crop (a faster growing crop) of radish along side in the time it will take the Parsnips to show.
Just to be on the safe side I have done all of the above. Here’s hoping we will be enjoying some roasted Parsnip later in the year.