31 May 2008

Seed Saving

We had some left over parsnips in the garden that managed to survive the winter. Those whose roots we didn't use for pencils (Because they're woody, get it? Oh dag, that's entertaining.) were left in the ground to go to seed. From the looks of these heads, they should be going to flower within the next week. What we do after that, we're not quite sure, because we've never done this before. We'll be sure to let you know what's up as we find out.


El said...

Hi guys: let them get big and then dry; you can cut off the heads then and shake out the seeds. The best seed (supposedly) comes from the first and biggest umbrels (flowers). Parsnips are shit for storing as their viability drops off so quickly so it's great you're saving your own.

My best parsnips last year came from the base of the long-term compost pile (the one that'll take 10 years to decompose) where I had thrown the spent seed stalks!

Patrick said...

The flower head will get very large, and stay in place for most of the summer! If they're in an inconvenient place for this now, you might consider trying to quickly transplant them (but this may kill them). Also parsnip plants have a sap that some people find very irritating on their skin. Keep this in mind if the plant is now in a place where you have to frequently walk past it and might get the sap on yourselves.

And yes, like el said, the seeds are only good the same year you save them, so there's no point in savings gallons of seeds because you won't be able to use them. After you have a few seeds get rid of the plants, because it will just cover your garden with parsnip weeds.

Good Luck! Is this parsnip an OP or F1 variety?

Michelle Ellis said...

I love it when that happens.(:

CeeCee said...

Never hurts to try.
I'm wondering why you want to save a batch to seeds from plants that were too woody to eat? Good luck next year---maybe it was soil, or water, or parsnip gods that made them woody this year. :)

Anonymous said...

These look so neat! I had no idea they looked like that. Worth keeping a few for ornamental value!

Kelly said...

Hello El,
Thanks for the tip. We didn't realize the shelf life for stored parsnip seeds was so low. That would explain why none of our new stuff sprouted this year (I think we had old seeds). Oh, and I love finding volunteers in the compost pile. They are always welcomes strays.

Hey Patrick,
I don't think either of us has an irritation to the plants, yet. The variety we have is open pollinated. Even when we knew nothing about gardening we tried to stay away from hybrids. And as I said to El, thanks for the tip on the short shelf life.

Hello Michelle Ellis,
Thanks for the comment, we love it too.

Hello CeeCee,
They became woody because we left them in the ground way too long. They've been sitting there for like eight months. I don't know why we left them there like that, it just kind of happened that way.

Hey Ben,
The flowers were a wonderful surprise for us as well. As they get larger we'll be sure to post more photos.