Sunday, June 14, 2009

How do I harvest Parsnip seeds?

I left a few parsnips from last year in the ground over winter in order to get seeds from them this year. Now, the time is either here or fast approaching and I've got no clue. I know, sad. But still true.!

Parsnip stalks approximately 6 feet tall

Central Stalk - Are those seeds ready?

Surrounding stalks - still blooming and more flowers coming.

I saw on a short video online here, that this woman waited until the stalks and seeds were all dry and then cut them and shook them in a pillowslip. I probably would have done that. But then I saw other articles that said the home seed saver can get better seeds by babying the seed heads.

Basically, I gather that I should cut the flower heads when they become seeds and dry them indoors and collect them that way. But how do I know when? I mean, is that central head ready to harvest for seed? Do I just leave the others and harvest the heads as they get ready like the central head?

Anyone who knows and can offer advice, I'd be so very appreciative.

And my apologies to you all! I've not kept up with all your posts like I should with the growing season well in force and household projects that can't be put off anymore taking precedence. I'll try to visit you all, the ones I've missed, very soon to see what's up and I'll try to post more often too. :)

Garden update should post tomorrow. Wait till you see....


Milah said...

Sorry, I haven't a clue. I've never ate a parsnip in my life.;D

Julia said...

I've saved arugula seeds... I let the seed pods stay on the stalk long enough to dry a little. Then I harvest the pods and shake out the seeds. For the home gardener, you don't need to save that many seeds -- and it's fast work.

Looking forward to seeing your garden updates!

fullfreezer said...

I've never saved parsnip seeds but they look similar to some I've saved before. What I did was twist tie a small paper bag over the seed head after the seeds were formed but not dry. When the stalk dried out, I cut it off, shook it out and there they were. I'm definitely not an expert but it worked for me.

Ruralrose said...

Let them dry and fall from the plant. In early spring eat the new parsnips. I am serious, but if you want to collect the seed wait until they are very dry and the plant seems quite done. Cut the flower heads off during the week when the left side of the moon is lit. This is the best time for all harvesting. I store the seeds I save in newspaper. Don't worry, very easy to grow from seeds collected in this way. I have been collecting seeds for years now, it is like magic. Other than watering a plant that looks almost dead, i would never baby a seed head. Peace for all

Anonymous said...

No idea. I've always wondered how people collect seeds from root veg. But wow on the height of that thing!

ChicagoMike said...

I just asked my Mom and she says you leave the seeds out until they become papery (regardless of color) and bring them in.

I also seem to remember reading that Parsnip seeds are not the best keepers, only remaining viable for a year or two.

Alison said...

p.s. I think you can cut back the nasturtiums. Add leaves and flowers to a salad! (Peppery) Or if you know someone who has a pet iguana, you'll have a reptile friend for life :-0

Chris said...

I'm doing the same thing with parsnip seeds. Not sure how well they'll do. Be very cautious handling the stems when it's time to clear them away, I chopped them all down on a nice hot day with my shirt off and came up in a truly disgusting blistering rash all over my body and arms. I'm searching to find out it they are known to be toxic or if it's just an allergy for me.

ChristyACB said...


Thanks for the tip. Just in time too. I plan on cutting the central stalk of seeds today or tomorrow since they have now turned brown. I hadn't even considered precautions but will surely wear gloves now!