'One of my colleagues on the allotments had the same bad results and my sowing of 'Tender and True' was patchy in germination,' he says. 'One year at Watford I had only three seeds germinate out of four 18ft rows. It was the same round Rickmansworth and Amersham and also at Braintree and Waltham Abbey. I feel there are always certain poor years for germination of certain seeds, so your experience is quite normal.'
I am hoping for better results this year with 'Avonresister' (Unwins 79p). This makes short, stubby roots, which are easier to handle in the kitchen. It is a sweet variety and has good resistance to canker. Parsnip seed has a relatively short shelf life, so do not expect good results from the remnants of last year's seed packet.