Parsnip sowing

Hi folks

Hope you can help me with this.  I love parsnips, but have very little success growing them.  One of the youtube videos mentions adding a "bit of 4x" to the soil mix before planting.  I thought I would try this - but what is 4x?  Replies much appreciated.  Thanks.




  • ColinAColinA Posts: 209
    I always start parsnio seed in the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls, in sieved garden soil in the first week in may and in the greenhouse, I do not add any fertilizer as i understand that like carrots it can make them fork. I have found that I get a better germination this way and the tubes are so easy to transplant

  • Green MagpieGreen Magpie Posts: 776
    edited 12 March
    I have given up on parsnips for now (I could show you some photos that would explain why - my parsnips had great comedy value but weren't much use in the kitchen). I used to germinate them indoors, between two layers of damp kitchen roll, and then when each seed had a tiny root, I would transplant the little tadpole-like creatures carefully into their final stations, and most of them would grow. What they grew into was another matter, but my germination technique was pretty effective.
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,006
    @ColinA that's interesting as I was only reading the other day about starting them off this way with some bottom heat and that 21° seems to be the ideal temperature so was going to try it this year.

    So this seems to be the way to go @nikki 7 maybe we will have more luck.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,144
    I sow mine direct but not until 1st June.  Gorgeous big parsnips by the winter. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • nikki 7nikki 7 Posts: 74
    Many thanks one and all for your advice.  I'll give the toilet roll holders a try this year.  So, fingers crossed!  And thanks again
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,144
    How long does it take to save enough toilet rolls innards to make a parsnip bed? 
    Id have to wait years,and we are very good at saving on paper. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,464

    I find them don't germinate well if sown outside unless the soil has warmed up. I sow them end of April in SW France.

    I always used toilet roll holders for sweet peas, but my favourite brand has changed to flushable middles and they disintegrate too soon.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,144
    I sow mine on the 1st June,   All germinate well then. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,823
    4x is a concentrated fertiliser it's very good but strong. Too much fertiliser will inhibit germination of many seeds and Parsnip seed is notorious for slow germination even in good circumstances. If you use a fertiliser like that it needs to be in the ground at least a month before you sow. Parsnips need a deep well cultivated soil, do not panic about sowing too early, if conditions aren't right sow later, as @Lyn says they will still bulk up. I have never sown later than May myself but it will all depend on your local conditions and the weather. 
    AB Still learning

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,144
    I make a deep hole with a fat dipper first then fill with plant compost, I always use pelleted seed for parsnips, drop one in on the compost post the cover with the compost. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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