Turnips are known to provide lots of dietary fiber and an excellent dose of vitamin C. The roots of turnips are used to enhance a variety of dishes from soups to slaws. If grown under the right conditions and properly maintained, turnips produce a crop suitable for summer, fall, and winter consumption.
To grow your turnips, plant your seeds in early spring or late summer. At this time, the soil is cooler. Turnips are known to grow best in cooler, northern climates or perhaps, as a fall crop in warmer locations. Turnips should be grown in loose, nutrient-rich, well-draining soil having a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
The stages of germination – the sprouting of turnips occur within 4 – 7 days of planting. Turnip greens are best harvested when the leaves attain a height of 4 – 6 inches. As for the turnip roots, they reach maturity within 45 – 80 days of planting. Turnips can be consumed raw. They can also be baked, boiled, roasted, or mashed.
1) Site Preparation
Prepare your soil by mixing in a 2 – 4 inch layer of compost or aged manure in addition to some sand if the soil contains a lot of clay so as to improve the drainage. Ensure that the soil is loose. The ideal temperature for growing turnips is between 40°F and 75°F.
Read also: Learn About The Turnip Growing Problems
2) Planting Turnips
Before planting your turnips, mix in some low organic fertilizer into the soil which should be about 12 inches into the soil, and avoid over-fertilizing with nitrogen. It is best to plant turnip seeds and obtain your turnips directly from the seeds rather than having to transplant as turnips do not transplant well.
When sowing your seeds, ensure to sow them a quarter to a half of an inch deep while being one inch apart, in rows 12 – 18 inches apart. Another method is by scattering your turnip seeds on the soil and covering them with a half-inch of soil.
Watering is necessary so ensure to water consistently. Thin the seedlings to 4 – 6 inches apart once they are 4 inches high. This is to avoid crowding which can cause small or malformed roots. Mulching should be done to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Water regularly.
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3) Pests and Diseases
Some pests which can affect the growth of your turnips include aphids, cabbage root maggots, flea beetles, black rot, white rust, stinkbugs, downy mildew, and powdery mildew.
4) Harvesting Turnips
Harvest your greens when the turnips are little. This is due to the fact that the leaves taste best when they are young and tender. When cutting the leaves, cut them two inches above the base and harvest only a few at a time and as for the roots, they can be harvested at any time.
You can harvest the early types of turnips after about 5 weeks. For the main-crop types, they can be harvested after 6 – 10 weeks and as for the fall turnips, they can be harvested after 1 – 2 light frosts to obtain a sweeter taste.
Read also: How To Grow Purple Top Turnips Step By Step
5) Storing Turnips
To store your turnips, store them in a cool, dark place such as a root cellar or inside a refrigerator for up to 3 – 4 months. The temperature for storage should be between 32°F and 38°F.
If storing in the refrigerator, ensure to keep your turnips in a perforated plastic bag to prevent the turnips from drying out and also, to prevent them from getting moldy from excessive moisture.
To freeze your turnips, first of all, peel and wash the turnips. Afterward, cut into half-inch cubes, and blanch for 3 minutes. Immediately, proceed to cool in cold water and then, drain. Once that is done, pack into containers, label the container, and freeze.
Turnips are cool weather crops that can be grown in spring, as well as in fall. They are known to mature very quickly and not only can their greens be consumed but their roots can also be consumed as well.