Grow Guide Conditions:
Turnips are a fast growing, cool weather crop with delicious leaves and tasty roots. They like a loose, moderately fertile, well drained soil with a neutral pH range of 5.5-8.0. Like other root crops, turnips benefit from an application of rock phosphate and potassium (wood ashes). They can be grown in early spring and fall, and over winter in mild climates.
Grow Guide Seed:
Direct seed turnips 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 65-85° F. Thin seedlings to 3-4 inches apart to harvest roots, or allow them to remain crowded if you primarily desire the leafy greens. Keep evenly moist to grow the crop fast and tender.
Grow Guide Pests:
Turnips are part of the cabbage (brassica) family and have 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 maintain a flowering hedgerow of insectary plants. Practice crop rotations to prevent brassica family diseases like club root, black rot, black leg and turnip mosaic virus.
Grow Guide Harvest:
For abundant harvest of turnip greens, dedicate the planting to leaf production and harvest the leaves while still young and tender. Harvest 2-3 inch diameter turnip roots as soon as 30 days and up to 60 days from sprouting. Be sure to harvest spring plantings before hot weather sets in and makes them tough. Fall harvested crops taste sweeter after one or two frosts. To harvest both greens and roots, remove only a few of the outer leaves from each plant, leaving some leaves to size up the roots. For winter storage, remove the leafy tops and store up to 6 months in a root cellar in buckets of moist sand or sawdust.