Methods for Successfully Cultivating Turnips


If you’re a gardener looking to add some variety to your crops, turnips and rutabagas are two vegetables you should definitely consider. Beyond their delicious flavors, these quick-growing root crops are also quite easy to grow. In this article, we’ll give you all the tips and information you need to successfully grow turnips in your garden.

Before we get into the details of how to grow turnips, let’s talk a bit about these vegetables. Turnips and rutabagas are both root vegetables in the Brassica family, along with cabbage, broccoli, and radishes. They’re usually planted in early spring or fall, and they can be harvested in as little as 30 days for smaller, younger turnips, or up to 70 days for larger, more mature turnips or rutabagas.

Turnips and rutabagas are known for their high nutritional value and are a great source of fiber. They’re also quite versatile in the kitchen and can be eaten raw or cooked, added to salads, soups, stews, or roasted. Both turnips and rutabagas offer a variety of flavors, ranging from mild and sweet to peppery and slightly bitter.

When it comes to planting turnips, you’ll want to choose a sunny location in your garden with well-draining soil. Turnips prefer a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 and thrive in soils with high organic matter. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds and adding organic compost or well-rotted manure.

Turnips can be grown from seeds or transplants. If you’re starting from seeds, sow them directly into the soil about half an inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, which usually takes about 5 to 10 days. Thin the seedlings to about 4 to 6 inches apart to allow room for growth.

When it comes to caring for your turnips, regular watering is essential for proper growth. Keep the soil evenly moist, especially during dry periods. If the soil becomes too dry, your turnips may become tough and woody.

In terms of pests and diseases, turnips are generally quite resistant. However, they can occasionally attract aphids and flea beetles. If you notice any aphids or insects on your plants, you can use organic pest control methods or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

Harvesting turnips is a matter of personal preference. You can harvest them when they’re young and tender, or you can leave them in the ground until they reach their full size. To harvest, gently pull the turnips from the soil, being careful not to damage the roots.

Once harvested, turnips can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a month. You can also store them in the refrigerator or freezer for longer-term storage. To freeze turnips, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 10 months.

In conclusion, turnips and rutabagas are excellent crops to add to your garden. With their quick growth, high nutrition, and delicious flavors, they’re a great choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners. By following these tips and caring for your turnips properly, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of these tasty root vegetables.


Turnips are root vegetables that are easy to grow and can be a delicious addition to your garden. They’re typically grown for their edible roots, but their green leaves are also nutritious and can be prepared like other leafy greens. Turnips have a tangy and slightly bitter flavor that pairs well with a variety of dishes.

Preparation: Before planting turnips, make sure to prepare the soil. Turnips prefer well-drained soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Clear the area of any weeds and work in organic matter to improve soil fertility.

Planting: Turnips can be planted in early spring or late summer for fall harvest. Sow the seeds directly into the prepared soil, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Thin the seedlings to a final spacing of 4 to 6 inches between plants. Turnips can be grown in rows or in raised beds.

Care: Turnips require regular watering, especially during dry spells. Keep the soil evenly moist, but avoid over-watering as it can lead to disease and rot. Mulching can help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Turnips are typically ready to be harvested within a month of planting.

Harvesting: Turnips can be picked and eaten when they are tender and about 2 inches in diameter, or you can wait until they are larger for a more mature flavor. For rutabaga varieties, harvest when they reach the size of a tennis ball. To test if a turnip is ready to harvest, gently press the top of the root to see if it feels firm.

Storage: Turnips can be stored for several months in a cool, dark place with a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (0-4 degrees Celsius). Remove the tops before storing to prevent them from drawing moisture from the roots. Be sure to use any damaged or bruised turnips first, as they won’t store as well.

Turnips have many health benefits and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Beyond the traditional boiled or roasted turnips, you can use them in soups, stews, stir-fries, and salads. They can also be pickled for a tangy and crunchy addition to sandwiches and burgers.

If you have any questions about growing turnips, there are many resources available, including local extension offices and online forums. Turnips are a great addition to any garden and can provide you with a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious vegetables.

Planting Growing and Harvesting Turnips

If you are interested in growing turnips, you will be pleased to know that they are easy to cultivate and they offer a range of utility. The turnip (Brassica rapa) is a member of the brassica family and is often grouped together with its close relative, the rutabaga. Turnips are typically planted as a cool weather crop and can be grown in most states.

When planting turnips, it’s important to make sure your soil is well-drained, as they prefer a loose and friable texture. Before sowing the seeds, it’s a good idea to test your soil’s pH level to ensure it falls within the correct range, typically between 6 and 7. If necessary, you can make adjustments to the pH level by adding organic matter or other soil amendments.

Turnip seeds can be directly seeded into the garden or started inside and then transplanted outdoors. If you choose to start seeds inside, sow them about four to six weeks before the last expected frost date. When planting directly into the garden, make sure the soil has warmed up and the danger of frost has passed. The seeds should be planted around 1/2 inch deep with a spacing of about 2 to 4 inches apart. Keep the soil evenly moist during the germination process.

You can harvest young turnips when they are about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, or wait for them to mature to a larger size. Turnips are typically ready for harvest within 30 to 60 days after planting, depending on the variety. To harvest, carefully dig around the base of the plants and gently lift them from the soil. Remove the greens by cutting them from the root, making sure to leave a small amount of stem for easier handling.

Turnips are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a healthy choice. Turnip greens are also edible and should be harvested when they are young and tender. They can be cooked just like other greens, such as spinach or kale, and provide a range of vitamins and minerals.

While turnips are generally hardy and resistant to many pests and diseases, they can be susceptible to certain insects and diseases that affect other brassicas. If you notice any signs of pest or disease damage, there are a variety of organic solutions available, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap. Additionally, rotating your turnip crop and practicing good spacing between plants can help prevent disease and reduce pest pressure.

After harvesting, turnips can be stored in a cool, dry place for several weeks. Make sure to remove any damaged or bruised turnips before storing, as they can cause the other turnips to spoil. Turnips can also be stored by freezing them. Simply blanch the turnips in boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags. They can be stored in the freezer for several months.

Now that you know how to plant, grow, and harvest turnips, give them a try in your garden. With their wide range of culinary uses and nutritional benefits, turnips are a versatile and tasty addition to any meal. So go ahead and enjoy the fresh taste of turnips straight from your own garden!

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If you are an avid plant enthusiast or just starting out with your garden, signing up for daily gardening advice and tips can greatly help in making your gardening journey a success. By signing up, you will receive valuable information on a range of gardening topics, including how to grow turnips and rutabagas.

Before planting turnip or rutabaga seeds, it is important to know some key facts. These plants belong to the brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and kale. They thrive in well-drained soils and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, making them popular choices for gardeners.

When it comes to fertilization, turnips and rutabagas usually don’t require a major amount of nutrients. However, they do benefit from regular, light fertilization before planting. An extension or expert in your area can provide specific guidelines.

Pests can also be a concern when growing turnips and rutabagas. Common pests to watch out for include aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage loopers. Implementing effective pest control measures, such as using row covers or organic insecticides, can help protect your plants from these unwanted visitors.

Light is another important factor in the successful growth of turnips and rutabagas. These plants require plenty of sunlight, so ensure they are planted in a location that receives full sun.

To spruce up your garden and help conserve soil moisture, consider using mulches. Mulches can also provide additional weed control and insulation for the plants. Organic mulches, such as straw or compost, work well for turnips and rutabagas.

Harvesting turnips and rutabagas can be done between 55-75 days after planting, depending on the variety and desired size. To test if a turnip or rutabaga is ready for harvesting, gently pull up a plant and check the size of the root bulb. If it has reached the desired size, you can start harvesting.

Water is essential for the proper growth of turnips and rutabagas, especially as they mature. These plants require regular watering, especially during periods of dry weather. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

Some turnip varieties can be left in the garden and harvested as needed for extended storage. However, rutabagas do not store as well and are usually harvested all at once. Proper storage of harvested roots is important to maintain their quality and flavors. They are typically stored in a cool, dry place.

For small garden spaces, turnips and rutabagas can be grown in containers. Just make sure the containers are large enough to accommodate the root growth. Additionally, planting turnips and rutabagas in a mosaic pattern can create visually appealing plantings in your garden.

When it comes to spacing, turnips should be planted 3-6 inches apart, while rutabagas should be planted 6-12 inches apart. Proper spacing allows the plants to receive adequate nutrients and water for optimal growth.

In summary, signing up for daily gardening advice and tips is a great way to enhance your knowledge on various gardening topics, including growing turnips and rutabagas. By understanding the planting and care requirements,

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.