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Self-seeded Parsnips

Our next door allotment holder allowed one parsnip to go to seed. He now has loads of mini plants as the seed has germinated well. Normal sowing would be April-June for harvesting next November onwards. All neighbours have been invited to help themselves. Which I have done and there is now a nice patch of about 70 plants on my allotment. Average size 2-4 cms of root. This is the way nature would do it I assume but I can find no information on the likelihood of success, any help or protection the plants may need or when the crop will be ready. Will the quality suffer? Will the roots be woody. 


  • I believe parsnip go to form seed in their second year so since these have already been growing this year I would expect them to start putting energy into flowering in the spring and the quality of the roots for eating would start to deteriorate once this has started. I would be surprised if they could grow into full sized parsnips but nature would be fine with that as they would still be able to produce some more seeds.
  • I agree, but I am hoping someone has experience of doing this or watching someone else's garden  or allotment. Could you harvest roots of a good enough size in late spring? Before they bolt to flower of course. I don't expect much growth over winter but when would they start being of a decent size next year? Do they have any sweetness if they grow in spring? It's not a big area so nothing wasted just can't find any information as to whether it is a waste of time and to grow parsnips for best food results you have to fool nature as we so often try to do.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,970
    I don't know  but coincidentally I have some self seeded ones growing too. I am not sure how well they will take to being transplanted,  they may fork or bolt before producing a useable root but as you say it's worth a try. 
    AB Still learning

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