Last year I had all sorts of problems getting Parsnip seeds to germinate, and so it seemed, did lots of other growers. I have never had an issue before, but the unusually dry, warm weather didn't suit them, with tiny seedlings drying out and dying as
they pushed out of their seed coats, so..
... a new plan. I read up on how gardeners of old used to help germination along, and one favourite was to water the ground, sow the seed, cover very lightly with soil and then put a plank of wood over
the row until germination begins. On the face of it this sounds a little weird, but it would maintain a consistent level of moisture in the soil, and also provide some insulation from frosts too if needed. I know parsnips are hardy, but seeds are small
and light, and the tap root needs to be able to grow away quickly, which is cannot do in dry soil, as it curls up and dies.
OK. Now for my version: prepare the soil as a seed bed, without weeds or obvious stones, firm with the back of a rake, so it
is not too fluffy, give it a good soak and cover with black plastic overnight, so that the water can soak down through the soil. (Done this bit)
Then the next day, make shallow drills, soak these and sow the seeds, three per station about six inches
apart. Cover with soil to 1cm depth, tamp down gently so that there is good contact between the seeds and the soil, then replace the plastic cover (This is for tomrrow)
Now in theory, parsnip seed germinate in about 3 weeks, but in warm soil (and
right now the soil is certainly warm enough) it could perhaps take 2 weeks. I shall be regularly checking for seedlngs, and will then remove the cover, keeping them carefully watered when needed. I'll keep you updated.