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Snow Again, Parsnips Successfully Germinated

Well things were starting to warm up and the weather forecast was for some sleet overnight so it was a bit of a shock to wake up to a white world again on Thursday. It was actually thicker than the last lot of snow. I reckon we had about 6 ins. Some areas drifted up a lot more than that.

Snow on Shed and greenhouse

Thicker Snow than Last Time!

There’s really no knowing with our weather so I don’t know why I’m surprised. By the afternoon it had started melting again. Still, there were a lot of happy kids around as they’d got yet another day off school. By Friday there was little left and Saturday saw our temperatures shoot up to 12ºC which cleared the last of the snow. So it started raining.

I’ve managed to catch a rotten cold that’s doing the rounds. I don’t think the weather is helping. I’d popped across the road for a quick chat with my neighbour across the road. He’s really busy with lambing at the moment and his sheds are all given over to maternity wards. We’d talked for longer than I expected and I got a bit chilled – should have put my warmer jacket on or maybe his graphic description of sorting a tricky birth was making me shudder.

Parsnips Germinated

Meanwhile, over in my maternity ward the parsnips have mainly germinated. In fact I reckon I’ve had about 80% germination. Just to recap on the story so far…

Parsnip Seedlings Rootrainers

Parsnip Seedlings in Rootrainers

The seeds were soaked for 3 hours in lukewarm water with a teaspoon of cinnamon and an aspirin dissolved in it. Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal and aspirin is chemically similar to a growth hormone found in many plants. (see Germinating Parsnips)

Parsnip Seedlings Closeup

Parsnip Seedlings Closeup

Then they were sown quite shallow in rootrainers, on average 2 per cell – except for a few slip ups that got 3 or 4. The rootrainers were covered in propagator lids and then placed on a heating mat set to take the compost temperature up to 20ºC

In hindsight I could have sown just one per cell – but this is the first time I’ve tried this method so it’s all a bit of an experiment. I’ve ended up 8 blanks so with a bit of luck and a following wind I’ll have 56 decent parsnips in 9 months time.

Just after taking the photos I thinned down to the strongest central seedling in each cell and watered well to settle the survivors down. The lids have come off but I’ve left them on bottom heat for now. Does no harm and they’ll come off heat when I need the space.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
7 comments on “Snow Again, Parsnips Successfully Germinated
  1. Kathy says:

    John those roots will be near the bottom of the trainers in another week I think. I grew some in toilet roll tubes a few years back and was surprised how fast they grew.. and yours have warm feet!!

  2. john dean says:

    Good day, I thought that parsnips were the one vegetable that you shouldn’t transplant as they they would produce forked roots.

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi John – as a rule, you are right but parsnips are notorious for being hard to germinate so some extra effort is worthwhile. Because you’re not transplanting the root so much as planting out the seedling and its surrounding soil, without disturbing the root system in anyway, you can get away with it this way.

  3. john dean says:

    Thanks John, i had an awful time with parsnips last year, mainly I think because of my heavy clay soil. This year i,m going to wait until the ground has warmed up before sowing and sow them in groups of 3 in a compost filled dibbered hole. Roast parsnips are so delicious they wont beat me. Can you recommend a variety that grow nice and fat but don’t go down too deep.

  4. John G says:

    I have tried the toilet tube method and found it to work by planting all the tube when parsnip appears. As for using root trainers for parsnips, the idea seems good but l don’t think it will work in practice because when you split the root trainers the compost breaks up unless you have a good root volume which you will not have with a parsnip, but good luck with your trial and l hope you prove me wrong. I look forward to hearing your results.
    I now dib a hole and fill with riddled soil and place four or five parsnip seeds on the soil and when germinated cut off the weakest seedlings just leaving one, job done.

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