Parsnip seed does not keep well and so it is recommended that new seed is purchased each year to increase the chance of good germination.
Parsnips are in the ground for a long time - we are still harvesting parsnips sown last year, so this should be kept in mind when choosing a location for sowing.
Most advice is to plant very early but there is no point in doing this if the ground is cold and wet as the seed will rot and so not germinate in these conditions.
Parsnip seeds are notoriously slow to germinate and some people prefer to pre-germinate them on damp kitchen paper but touch wood we have generally had reasonable success using the method explained here.
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