Friday, April 3

Sowing parsnip seeds - our method

Parsnip seed does not keep well and so it is recommended that new seed is purchased each year to increase the chance of good germination.

Parsnips are in the ground for a long time - we are still harvesting parsnips sown last year, so this should be kept in mind when choosing a location for sowing. We leave our parsnips in the ground until we are ready to eat them. The flavour of the roots improve after they have been subjected to a frost as the frost turns the starch into sugars.

Most advice is to plant very early but there is no point in doing this if the ground is cold and wet as the seed will rot and so not germinate in these conditions.

Parsnip seeds are notoriously slow to germinate and some people prefer to pre-germinate them on damp kitchen paper but touch
wood we have generally had reasonable success using the method explained here.


  1. Thank you for the tip Sue. I am planning to plant parsnip this year and we are first-timer for this veg. The only variety that I have ever seen seeds selling here is Hollow Crown. I wonder if end summer is much too early to plant them. We only have mild-winter compare to yours.

  2. To be honest Diana the end of summer is a bit late! We plant our parsnips in April so that's mid spring for us. The growing season is very long. Their isn't a problem with the parsnips over winter as they are really tough and benefit from a period of frost to sweeten them.

    Having said that there's nothing to be lost by just having a go - maybe they will grow away quicker for you.

  3. I am going to try my luck and see whether I can get the seed-saver group parsnip seeds that I have recently received to germinate in the middle of summer.

  4. Always worth a try Diana - remember the seeds need to be as fresh as possible.


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