By Kathee Mierzejewski
Many gardeners love to grow turnip roots in their garden. Like any root vegetable, turnips (Brassica campestris L.) do well along with carrots and radishes. They are easy and can be planted either in the spring, so you have turnips all summer, or in the late summer for a fall crop. Let’s look at how to grow turnips.
How to Grow Turnips
If you are planting a summer crop, you want to plant the turnips early. If you are planting so you can have turnips to store throughout the winter, then plant them late in the summer so they can be harvested before first frost.
Preparing the bed to grow turnip plants in is easy. Just rake it and hoe it as usual for planting. Once you are done and the dirt is not too wet, sprinkle the seeds and rake them in. Growing turnips should be done with seeds in the soil about half an inch deep at a rate of three to 20 seeds per foot. To start the turnips growing faster, you can water the garden after planting to speed germination.
Once you find your turnips growing, you should thin the growing turnips to about 4 inches apart to give the plants plenty of room to form good roots. This will help the plants to produce a better turnip.
When planting turnips, you want to plant them at ten-day intervals. This will allow you to grow turnips for harvesting every couple of weeks throughout the season.
Come summertime, about 45 to 50 days after planting, you can pull a turnip up and see if it’s ready for harvest. You can start harvesting turnips once you find a mature turnip.
If you have summer turnips, they are more tender. Growing turnips to produce in late fall produces a hardier variety that stores well in the drawer in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place. You can then use them throughout the winter.
Having a vegetable crop you can actually use throughout the winter is a nice thing when you have a garden. Harvesting turnips can make a great root cellar vegetable for storing along with carrots, rutabagas and beets.