How to Grow Turnips
Growing Turnips = Easy
Learning how to grow turnips in your vegetable garden is easy. Home gardeners grow turnips to eat both the tender young greens and the mature roots.
For Growing Turnips:
- Grow turnips in the cool gardening season in your area.
- Growing turnips is best in loose, well-drained soil.
Note: Turnips prefer to grow in soils enriched the prior garden season (not the current season).
- Select a sunny (or part-sun) location for growing turnips in the garden.
How to Grow Turnips:
- Test the soil. Garden soil with a pH level of 6.0-7.0 is best for growing turnips. (Improve the soil, if necessary.)
- Dig shallow furrows (1/4" deep) and with 10” spacing between rows. Lay the turnip seed in the furrows, and lightly cover with soil.
- Water gently, so as to not wash the turnip seeds away.
When seedlings appear, avoid unhealthy overcrowded plants by thinning the turnips to 4” apart.
Note: You can extend the turnip season by planting smaller crops every couple of weeks.
- Keep evenly watered throughout the gardening season. (Uneven watering can cause the turnip roots to grow woody and tough.)
- Turnips do not grow well with weed competition. Cultivate often to remove the weeds before their roots are big enough to disturb the turnips' roots.
Note: Consider applying a thick layer of organic mulch to help even soil moisture (reduce the need to water so often), keep the weeks at bay, and keep the soil temperatures cooler.
- You shouldn't need to fertilize, but you can apply a dose of compost tea (or similar) one month after planting. However, too much fertilizer will cause excess leaf growth and small roots.
- Harvest turnip greens when they're young and tender. Remove only the outermost leaves and leave the inner leaves to support continued plant growth.
Harvest the turnip roots after 2 or 3 months, when the turnips are the size you prefer (the larger, the tougher they can get, depending upon the variety).
Note: Turnip roots are sweeter if you can wait to harvest until after a frost.
- Turnip roots can be kept for long term storage in a cold cellar or similar. If you're in a mild climate, and your garden is relatively rodent-free, you can leave the turnips in the soil and just harvest when needed.