Turnips are very similar to Rutabagas, and both are related to Cabbage. Rutabagas are a hybrid between a Turnip and Cabbage. Long white bulb-like stalks and edible leaves are what define these breeds from other root vegetables. Traditional varieties have large dense bulbs you want to harvest after the first frost in your region. Turnips can store well in a chilly, dry space for up to several months. Bake, boil or steam the bulbs to enjoy and poach the greens or add them to a salad if they're smaller.
There are breeds of Turnip that produce small to medium-sized bulbs that tend not to store very well. These are typically grown for fresh consumption, their greens or a fall harvest. They're excellent for eating fresh like a Radish and are a wonderful addition to a fresh salad!
When to Plant
Turnips are very cool weather and frost hearty, capable of surviving in temperatures as low as -4 c. They should be planted in early spring when the weather is cooler, especially at night.
How to Plant
NEVER start Turnips indoors as they do not transplant well like any other root vegetable. Direct sow is always the best option for this garden delight. Sow your seeds approximately 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart. Once you start seeing small leaves about salad size, thin your plants to 10-12cm. If you're planting more than one row, be sure to space them between 45-60 cm apart.
How to Harvest
Be sure to always wait until after the first frost to harvest your Turnips and Rutabagas. Doing this will immensely enhance the sweetness of your fruit. Depending on the estimated length of your roots, use a fork or shovel to dig your Turnips. Store them in a chilly, dry space until you're ready to use them.
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