Parsnip seeds are slow to germinate. You can speed germination by soaking the seeds overnight before planting. Keep seeds well watered until they emerge. Homegrown seed will remain viable for at least 3 years if properly stored in a cool, dark location. Another option that proved very successful was to sow seeds in prepared beds just before the ground freezes. Seeds will germinate as soon as conditions are favorable and get a significant head start on the season.