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Rutabaga, left; turnip, right

Common Name: Turnip/Rutabaga


Botanical Name: Turnip - Brassica rapa —— Rutabaga - Brassica napus


Family: Cruciferae


Type & Use: Biennial, grown as an annual. Edible greens and roots.


Location: Sun to partial shade


Planting Dates: For spring, plant seed 4-8 weeks before frost. For fall, plant seed 6-8 weeks before first average frost. In general, February 7 - March 10 and September 1 - October 15.


Planting Method: Broadcast or plant seed in rows ¼-½ inch deep


Seed Emergence: 3-10 days at 60-105°


Harvest Time: For turnips, harvest greens in 30 days, roots in 45-60 days. For rutabagas, greens in 40 days and roots in 75-100 days after seeding.


Height: 8-15 inches


Spread: 8-10 inches


Final Spacing: 2 inches apart for greens and 4 inches apart for roots


Growth Habits: Turnips are a leafy vegetable with a swollen, edible root. They mature during cool temperatures. Rutabagas are similar but have a longer growing season and do best when planted for fall harvest.


Culture: Prepare soil with the standard ingredients: compost, lava sand, organic fertilizer, and Texas greensand in alkaline soils. Use high-calcium lime in sandy, acid soils. Fertilize twice per growing season and spray at least monthly with Garrett Juice. Maintain even soil moisture level, especially as the plants mature. Mulching the bare soil around the plants is very important.


Troubles and Solutions: Grubworms and wire worms are the most troublesome pests. They can be controlled with beneficial nematodes, citrus products, and sugar. Aphids and flea beetles can be controlled with Garrett Juice and the release of beneficial insects such as loopers; caterpillars can be controlled with trichogramma wasps and Bt products. Citrus based sprays are also effective for these pests. Cracked or misshapen roots can be avoided by maintaining an even moisture level.

  Rutabaga top, others are turnips


Harvest and Storage: Turnip greens, even the small ones removed during thinning, can be used in salads. Turnip greens can be harvested by the cut-and-come-again method or by removal of the whole plant. Store the turnips at 32-40° for up to 12 weeks. The greens will only last a few days.


Notes: Rutabaga greens are not normally eaten due to toughness and an “off taste.”


Varieties: Just Right’, ‘Royal Globe’, ‘Tokyo Cross’, ‘White Lady’, ‘All Top’, ‘Purple Top’
Turnip greens - ‘Top Seven’, ‘Crawford’, ‘Dr. Poindexter’. Rutabagas - ‘American Purple Top’, ‘White Globe’, ‘Shogun’.


From: Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening





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