Growing parsnips in the warmth and safety of a polytunnel can mean that the seedlings get quite leggy, with shoots reaching as much as 20-25cm. Once you’ve planted them, however, they’ll soon right themselves….
Most gardeners will sow parsnips directly into their raised beds, rather than sowing them under cover to transplant them. At Rocket Gardens, we like to make sure it’s easy for you to grow all your favourite veggies, so we’ve been growing and selling parsnip plug plants for the past few years. We grow them in bio-pots so that they get minimal disturbance to their root system when it comes to transplanting them and we’ve had surprisingly good results.
It’s worth remembering, though, that since we sow them in the warm temperatures of the polytunnel with all our other veg, rather than directly sowing them outside in April where temperatures are much cooler, they do have a tendency to really shoot up. This means that you might see a 15/20/25cm stalk coming out of the top of your seedlings when they arrive. This is ok. Simply soak the bio-pot and root system in water, carefully peel back the bottom of the bio-pot so that it is easier for the main tap root to work its way into the soil and pop them into the ground as normal. You’ll find that once your parsnip transplants have been in the ground for a few weeks, the old, long shoots turn yellow and die back and are replaced by shorter, fuller foliage more akin to what you would expect from a parsnip seedling.