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Rutabaga, Joan
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Brassica napus

Delicately sweet, with hints of subtle flavors from its turnip and cabbage heritage, this underappreciated northern root vegetable is wonderful roasted or mashed along with other winter vegetables. The nutritious yellow tubers are uniformly round with purple tops.

Calendar Days to Harvest: 95

04514 Pack, Rutabaga, Joan
200 seeds $ 3.49
  • Heirloom (Open Pollinated)
  • Size: 4 -8 inch root
  • Hardiness: Hardy Biennial
  • Easy to Grow: Yes
  • Sun: Full
  • Water: Moderate
  • Seed Planting Depth: 0.50"
  • Days to Germination: 5-10 days
  • Plant spacing within a row: 6"-8"
Start From Seed: Detailed instructions for direct seeding, or starting seeds indoors and transplanting.
Sow the tiny seeds ½ inch deep, 1 inch apart, and allow 12-18 inches between rows. Cover with sand or vermiculite to prevent soil crusting, and keep seedbed evenly moist. Germination takes 7-10 days at an optimum soil temperature between 75-85° F. Thin seedlings to 4-6 inches apart. Water this deep- rooted crop deeply once a week throughout the growing season.
Growing Conditions: Growing seasons, soil types, water and fertility requirements.
Rutabaga is a cool weather crop that gets tough and woody in hot weather and bolts to seed. It is normally planted in early summer in the north, or mid-to late summer farther south for harvest in the fall (It is not recommended for the deep south – grow turnips instead). It likes a loose, moderately fertile, well drained soil with a neutral pH range of 5.5-8.0. Like other root crops, it benefits from an application of rock phosphate and potassium.
Pest Prevention: Organic solutions to common problems.
Rutabaga is part of the cabbage family and has similar pest and disease issues. Control root maggots and flea beetles by covering with floating row cover at planting time. Control aphids with insecticidal soap and/or flowering insectary plants. Soft brown centers (‘brown heart’ ) indicate boron deficiency in the soil and can be corrected with good compost or an application of borax. Practice crop rotations to prevent brassica family diseases like club root, black rot, black leg and turnip mosaic virus.
Harvest: Is it ready yet? When to harvest and how to store your garden produce.
Harvest 4-6 inch diameter rutabagas in the fall after one or two frosts, but do not allow roots to freeze solid. Remove the leafy tops and store up to 6 months in a root cellar in buckets of moist sand or sawdust; or dip roots in paraffin to prevent moisture loss during long storage. Peel the skins before cooking.
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