Yesterday I finally got round to starting off this years parsnips. I didn't grow any last year because I left it too late so this year I didn't want to miss out again.
Rather than germination problems with these notoriously tricky seeds I 'chit' my parsnips so I know what I'm dealing with. To do this I damp a few sheets of kitchen roll and fold them into the bottom of a plastic container. I then sprinkle some parsnip seeds onto the wet paper, seal the container and place it in the airing cupboard (although anywhere warm will do). Once the seeds have germinated (keep an eye on them, you don't want them kept in the dark once they've sprouted) I carefully take each little seedling and pot it into its own toilet roll filled with compost to get properly started before the whole thing goes into the ground a couple of weeks later.
This week we've also discovered The Horticultural Channel, a fortnightly TV show on The Information channel (Sky 166, FreeSat 402 or available via their website and YouTube). Described as being made by gardeners for gardeners with the focus on allotments, chickens and self sufficiency it seems like exactly the kind of show we've been wishing someone would make for years. The first episode, originally broadcast on 6th March, was really promising and it'll be interesting to see how it develops over the year.