Although we are most aware of the white and purple tennis ball-sized turnips frequently found in supermarkets, there is a wide range of turnips available, particularly small, sensitive radish-sized turnips. Turnips (Brassica rapa) belong to the Brassicaceae (mustard) family, and their edible green tops have a mustard-like flavor.
The leaves of turnips are light green and moderately hairy. They become an extended oval with serrated or wavy borders as they mature. Turnip roots are often white or yellow, with the section that sticks above ground turning purple or green due to direct sunlight.
Turnip blossoms are small and yellow if they are permitted to bolt. The four petals, like those of other Brassica plants, make a cross, which is why they’re also known as cruciferous vegetables. Turnips are often started from seed in early spring or late fall, at least 70 days before the first frost. They take roughly two months to reach full maturity.
Turnip Growing Tips
1) Provide everything turnips require to thrive
- Turnips should be grown in rich, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.
- To protect turnips from turning woody, keep the soil uniformly moist throughout the growing season.
- Mulch the soil to keep it moist and weed-free.
- Although turnips like cool weather, they require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. Turnips can be grown in partial shade.
2) Plant turnips at the appropriate time of year
- Plant turnips each week or 10 days during the growing season for a consistent harvest.
- Plant turnips 2-3 weeks before the last frost date in temperate zones for a spring yield. Late in the summer, replant for a fall harvest.
- Plant turnips in the fall for a winter yield in warmer climates. Plant turnips in Maricopa County from August 15th through the end of February.
Recommended Gardening Products:
- Garden Pots, buy on Amazon
- Germinating Tray, buy on Amazon
- Gardening Wheelbarrow, buy on Amazon
- Gardening Gloves, buy on Amazon
- Gardening clothes, buy on Amazon
3) Start with a seeded turnip
- Turnips are difficult to transplant, so cultivate them from seeds in the garden. 1 inch apart and ¼–½ inches deep, plant seeds. Turnip seeds grow in a short amount of time. When seedlings reach a height of 2-3 inches, thin them to 3-4 inches apart (based on variety).
- To keep flea beetles and root maggots away from young plants, use row coverings.
Try these turnip cultivars:
- Golden Globe turnips are white-fleshed turnips that should be harvested when they are 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Turnips with purple tops and white bottoms are known as Purple Top turnips. When they’re 4-6 inches broad, they’re ready to be harvested.
4) To get the delicious taste out of turnips, harvest them when they’re young
- When the bulbs are small and savory, and the weather is cool, harvest them 45-50 days after planting. When the bulbs grow approximately 2 inches broad, or the size of a radish, you can start harvesting.
- When turnip greens reach 10-12 inches in length, harvest them. Once turnip roots are harvested, harvest outer leaves as required.
5) Turnips can be prepared in several ways
The soft young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and are a great replacement for spinach. The roots can be eaten raw, roasted, sautéed, or added to soups. Turnips can be used in place of potatoes with great success.
Common Pests And Diseases
Anthracnose, clubroot, leaf spot, scab, turnip mosaic virus, Rhizoctonia rot, root-knot, and white rust are just a few of the challenges that turnips face when grown as Brassicas.
Resist planting any Brassica species in a certain area for over two years in a row to avert these diseases. If you’ve had clubroot before, it’s best to wait six years before planting Brassicas in the same spot.
Turnip aphids and flea beetles are insect pests that wreak havoc on the leaves. To prevent them of the leaves, you can use row covers. Because they harm the bulbs, root maggots and wireworms are a bigger concern.