Thursday, 19 March 2009


One of the regrets from our first year on the allotment was that we never got round to sowing any parsnips so this year we plan to make up for it in style.

Since parsnip seeds are notoriously picky about germinating it's generally recommended to only use seed sold for the current growing year. However, never being one to let considered logic put me off I'm going to try and get some results with the unopened packet I have left over from last year.

So, last night I emptied the packet of seeds onto some damp kitchen roll, put it in a Tupperware container and placed it in the warm of the airing cupboard. All being well this will allow the seeds to germinate easier and will provide me with the added bonus of being able to see which ones have 'hatched'.

As soon as I see shoots I'm going to take the individual seedlings and pot them up into loo rolls full of potting compost and let them grow on a little more till they're established before planting them, loo rolls and all, out onto the plot when they're big enough. I imagine I'll run out of loo rolls before I do seeds (assuming any sprout at all) in which case I'll try planting those little seedlings directly into their rows on the plot and see if they survive. I may even dig a bit of a trench for all of them and fill it with fine compost to give them some easy growing space if I get chance.

Since this is all a bit of an experiment I'm also sowing a packet of this years seed direct into the ground as per the instructions as a backup. In an ideal world we'll have a bumper crop when all growing methods work out but if not we should at get a decent return from at least one. We hope...

It's also that time of year when chitting potatoes are looking at their bizarre best so here's a quick snap to celebrate them in all their knobbly glory.


allot of veg said...

Hey I did this too - worked for me - I planted them out direct last weekend and have fleeced them for a couple of weeks until things warm up a little. Hope yours are as good as ours.

Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

You could try using kitchen roll inners instead of the loo rolls? This will help establish a stronger tap root - essential for success with parsnips.

I grew a few to 3' long last year!

Anonymous said...

Bloke on my allotment used to dibber his parsnips in once they had a couple of true leaves. I've had some in for a week so if they don't come up there's still time to get some more in.

maureen said...

Hi, I am doing a little parsnip trial of my own this year (1st time growing them) I copied Allot of Veg's idea of chitting them, never seen that done before and now I keep reading about it in mags, but I still give credit to A.O.V. My trial is still ongoing and the seeds I grew in compost and planted out as little plants are so far in the lead and doing well.
all the best with yours.