Rather than just throw out the last 3 years' seed I thought I would test them out for viability to see if the received wisdom was really true.
Here's my test beds:
From left to right
2009 - home saved Tender and True
2010 - Hollow Crown
2011 - The Student
50 seeds in each tray on top of moist potting compost sprayed with water every couple of days.
Two weeks later the score:
2009 - 10 germinated seeds
2010 - 28
2011 - 49
That's 98% for this year's seed! So, contrary to popular opinion, parsnip is a very good germinator. Also seed viability would appear to be better than we are led to believe being above 50% a year after the seal on the packet was broken.
In future I wont be throwing out my parsnip seeds each year. If I use them a year later I will sow 6 seeds at each station rather than three.
Just two activities at the plot this week: picking strawberries and weeding. Guess which one I enjoy more?