This week I have been sowing my parsnips outside in the veg patch. Unlike carrots, they are relatively easy to grow (once you have persuaded them to germinate), and since they store well in the soil over the winter they are a valuable winter storage crop. I grow around 40 parsnips, which is more than enough to keep us happy between November, when we start hankering for root crops and the following March. To do this I need to allocate around 2m of growing space (in a standard bed you will get three rows of parsnips).

Most parsnip seed packets will tell you to sow them in February – don’t do it