How To Grow Turnips

How To Grow Turnips

Delicious, Nutritious Turnips- Not Just a Root but Amazing Greens.

When we think of growing turnips, we naturally think of the root crop. The reality is that turnips are probably one of the most nutritious vegetables you can possibly eat. Therefore, how to grow turnips is easy and important for good eating.

A Generous Vegetable

They are prolific vegetable that keeps on giving. The production of turnips during the cool month be it spring of fall is simply awesome. You can broadcast them or plant them along the row.  Either way, the harvest will be double what you expect.

How to grow turnips

  • From the Brassicaceae family, known as the mustard family or cabbage family.
  • They require full sun to partial shade and a well-drained soil.
  • A cool season crop that tolerates some light frost.
  • For good root development, they need lots of moisture.
  • Growing them in a raised bed works best, as the soil is loose and will give them ample space to expand. Before planting add lots of organic matter.
  • You can plant in the spring or midsummer too early fall for a fall harvest. 
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Spacing of Turnips

You can plant as close as 1” to 2” apart and, as the plant develops, pull every other plant out. This will give more space for those left behind. Eventually pull out enough turnip plants to a spacing of about 2” to 3” wide. It takes 40 to 60 days for turnips to mature. You can leave some in the ground another two to three weeks extra to allow for them to further develop.  To increase my greens harvest; once the plants are spaced out to where I like them to be, I harvest the outer leaves only for a few weeks.  This way, I benefit from the greens and then I leave the plant alone in order for the bulb to develop.

Turnip Greens

Delicious turnip greens

Going for the greens only? Then you leave all the plants in place and use them for greens. Harvesting the outer leaves, the plant will continue to send out more shoots from the middle and, as the leaves develop, they can be harvested. You can do this until the temperature gets too hot in the late spring/early summer or too cold in the winter. In the summer heat the turnip greens bolt (go to seed) making them bitter. To keep them growing longer in the summer plant near the shade or see that they don’t get sun in the afternoon sun. Plant them near a tree on a raised bed. This way, the tree will provide the necessary shade. You will probably not get any root development during the summer growing under partial shade conditions.

Read about cabbage another member of this nutritious family. How to grow cabbages easily.

Fall Harvest

In the fall they will be more prolific and will continue to grow late into the fall. They will tolerate light frost, making them sweeter in taste. Harvest before they get hit with a hard frost as the leaves will die, and the roots will get damaged. See video on using a row cover to lengthen the season