~7,000 seeds/oz. ⅛ oz packet sows 25 ft; 1 oz, 200 ft.
Culture: Seed is short-lived; if you are planning to use old seed, germ test in paper towels before sowing. Slow to germinate (14–21 days). Prepare a deep seedbed and keep it moist with frequent watering until emergence. Sow about 1" apart in mid-spring. Thin to 2–3". Parsnips require a full growing season. Suitable for harvest after frost for late fall delights. Parsnips left to overwinter in the ground will nearly triple their fall sugar content. For the best early spring treats, harvest as soon as possible before the plants resume growth. Roots become more woody as the plants re-grow. Save some plants for seed in year 2. Plants will shoot up 6' before July-Aug. seed harvest. Homegrown parsnip seed often is better and more viable than any you can buy on the market.
Minimum germination temperature 46°, optimal range 55–77°, optimal at 65°. Emergence takes 27 days at 50°, 14 days at 68°, 89% normal seedlings at 68°, only 77% normal at 77°.
In his book Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever , Gene Logsdon suggests that we humans have much to learn from parsnips about how to achieve life everlasting. “First cultivate an independent ornery reliability that will draw admiration from everyone. Second develop a distinctive personality as parsnips do, with a taste appreciated only by the discerning minority, not the herd-like majority, and third don’t try to look too pretty in public.”