I was thrilled to participate in this year’s Seedy Saturday seed swap on March 9 hosted by Friends of Gardens Manitoba. I traded lettuce, cayenne peppers, spinach, calendula, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, oregano and chive seeds for tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, hubbard squash, zucchini, parsnips, pole beans, fennel, pumpkin, and blazing star.
I got things I would have never bought at the store like fennel, parsnips, hubbard squash and blazing star (a beautiful prairie flower).
After doing a little reading on parsnips, I learned that, like carrots, they are a biennial which means in order to collect seeds you need to leave them in the ground for two years. Whoever donated those seeds was a very patient person! My research also indicated that parsnip seeds don’t store very well and may not have a very successful germination rate.
The only way to know how my newly acquired parsnips seeds stood up, was to test their germination.
I took 10 seeds, placed them on a moistened paper towel that I tucked into a plastic bag and placed on top of the fridge for warmth.
That was on March 26. Parsnips take a long time to germinate (14-28 days), so it wasn’t until 16 days later that I unwrapped the paper towel to discover how my seeds fared. This is what I saw.
Nine out of the 10 seeds had successfully germinated. That’s a germination rate of 90%, which by all accounts is pretty awesome.
That just confirms that I’ll be seeding a bed of parsnips this summer, thanks to the mystery gardener who offered up those parsnip seeds.