Slow germinating Parsnips?

I love growing parsnip but the fact it takes weeks to germinate is so frustrating.  You are left wondering whether it is still waiting to pop or has it died off, is there a problem, or worse (if you forget to mark it up) you forget where it was sown!  This leads to random plants coming up in a few weeks time along with something else you have planted, not an ideal situation.

However I have learn’t a solution from my Grandad that solves all of these problems and I was amazed to see Monty Don use the same technique in Gardeners World this week! Thought for those that don’t have it broadcast or missed it I would share it.   He would create a drill for his parsnips, sow about 2/3 seeds every 4 inches and in the same row sow his radish seeds.  Parsnips take at least 5 weeks to germinate so makes it difficult to weed that area because you don’t want to damage the emerging seedlings but if you don’t weed, the weeds strangle the emerging seedlings giving them no chance at all.  Radish start to pop after a couple of weeks and you can normally start harvesting after 4 weeks, the parsnips will start popping at around the 5 week mark so you can leave them to sprout a bit more whilst continually harvesting radish, removing what is left of the radish at around 8-10 weeks when the parsnips are looking far healthier plants and more obvious to weed around.

You double up use of space, mark out where your parsnips are with the radishes and give the parsnips half a chance of survival!



  1. Excellent idea! Thanks very much for putting this info on your blog. I’ve had just the problem you mention and am having to start all over again. Going up to the allotment tomorrow evening and will try this technique out 🙂

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