Turnips and Rutabaga

Turnips have a small white round root with a thin skin. Rutabagas have a big yellow root often called a winter turnip. These vegetables can be seeded in the spring to be harvested early in the season or in mid July for a fall harvest. There is no need to harvest all the roots at one time as they will remain tender in the soil for up to 2 months. Rutabagas will improve in flavor after a frost as well. Start harvesting when the roots are the size of a golf ball. The greens are very nutritious so use them as well for salads or steaming.

Botanical Family - Brassicaeae/Mustard Family

Companion Planting
Positive: bean, peas

Location - Cool weather, adequate moisture and good drainage.

Soil - Sandy and not too rich in nitrogen.

Soil Preparation - Add 2” of compost or aged manure to early season crops. If the soil is clayey add some sand as well.

Info on planting Turnips:

Seed Info

Seed Spacing - 12” apart ½” deep
Germinate at soil temperature of 15 – 30 C
Days to Maturity - 30-60 days

Planting Times - Direct seed April to August. Succession plant every few weeks.

Planting Instruction - Hand seed. Water well once seeded. Will require thinning once they start to grow.

Watering - Regular thorough soaking.

Weeding - Keep weeded while plants are small.

Disease & Insects - cabbage root maggot, flea beetle, club root disease

Harvest - Leaf: Cut greens when young and tender. Add to salad mix. Root: pull the whole plant when the root is the size of a golf ball or more in diameter.

Storage - Tops need to be used quickly. Roots will store for several weeks in the refrigerator or in a cool area packed in sand, sawdust or peat moss.


Herb Baked Turnips 

2 medium turnips – slice ¼ inch thick

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon dried parsley – crushed

1 teaspoon dried basil – crushed

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Few dashes each: cayenne and kelp 

Mix all ingredients together well (except turnips).  Dip the slices in the mixture and bake at 400 F for 9-14 minutes until very tender, but not dry.

Return to Vegetable List 

Return to homepage