Mistakes to Avoid when Growing Turnips

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There are mistakes that you want to avoid when growing turnips. Turnips are a handy vegetable to grow in your garden and following these tips will help ensure a good crop yield and healthy, edible turnip plants for you and your family to enjoy.

How Turnips Grow

Turnips grow easily and can be planted in spring, late summer or fall. Turnips grown in the fall are planted in larger quantities in order to be harvest and stored for winter use. Turnips also include rutabagas, which are a cross between cabbage and turnips. Turnips take about two months to grow before cultivation and use, while rutabagas require and an additional four weeks before they are ready to eat.

Fall Plantings of Turnips

If planting turnips in the fall for winter yield, they should be planted at least 100 days before the first frost. Avoid planting your fall turnip crop any later than this in order to have them ready for use, as well as avoid the turnip crop dying or becoming ruined because of the cold. 

Allow Sufficient Room Between Rows

You want to make sure to allow sufficient room between rows when planting turnips. At least 12 to 24 inches (1 to 2 feet) between rows with seeds planted at a depth of 1/2 inch. You can plant 3 to 20 seeds per row, but should avoid putting too many turnip seeds in any one row. If you are growing turnips for the turnip greens, be sure to cut the tops when they grow to 4 to 6 inches. If you do not properly cut the greens at the growing points, located at the top of the turnip, they will grow back.

Proper Cultivation of the Turnips

You can cultivate the plants within 2 to 3 inches when you first plant the turnips. As they grow, cultivate up to 1 inch. This will prevent damage to the roots, which could prevent further growth from taking place.

Apply Appropriate Insecticides

Apply the appropriate insecticide to treat any root maggots that may get into the soil. Be sure to ask when buying the turnip seeds from a home or garden and plant store for the best insecticide to use, particularly one that will cause little or no harm to the turnip plants.

Harvesting the Turnips

Turnips planted in the Spring should be harvested when they reach a decent size for storage and preparing. The turnips will continue to grow if left in the ground, particularly as the weather gets better. Get them out of the ground as soon as they reach maturity. An appropriate size for turnips at harvest is 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Any larger than that and they lose some of their sweetness and taste.

Harvesting turnips when planted in the fall for winter use should be done before the first frost. If you like, cover the plants with a straw mulch to keep them warm. Remembering to pull the plants when they are large enough.

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