When to plant…
Turnips grow best in a temperate climate but can endure light frost. Fall crops are usually sweeter and more tender than spring crops—and pests are less of a problem.
- Select a site that gets full Sun.
- Soil should be well-draining and loosened to a depth of 12 to 15 inches.
- Mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Till soil well.
- Start sowing as soon as the ground is workable.
- Scatter turnip seed. Do not cover the seeds with more than ½ an inch of soil.
- Once seedlings are 4 inches high, thin “early” types 2 to 4 inches apart and maincrop types to 6 inches apart. Do not thin if growing for greens only.
Length to Mature… 2 months
When to harvest…
- Harvest some turnips very early as turnip greens.
- Harvest early types after about 5 weeks; maincrop types after 6 to 10 weeks.
- Harvest turnips at any size you wish. The small, young turnips are nice and tender.
- Pull mature turnips before they become woody and before the first frost.
How to select and store…
In the markets look for fresh roots that are small to medium in size (around 2″ diameter), firm, round and impart delicate sweet flavor. Avoid larger as well as overmatured roots as they are woody in texture due to excess fiber content and, therefore, unappetizing.
Once at home, separate the top greens from the root as the greens rob nutrients off the roots. The roots can be stored for a few weeks at low temperatures (32°-35° F) and high relative humidity (95 percent or above). Or you can store for up to 3 or 4 months in a cool outdoor place covered with straw. Use top greens as early as possible since they lose nutrients rather quickly.
How to preserve it…
Freezing Turnips can be sealed and stored for 9-14 months depending on the freezer.
Turnips are very low-calorie root vegetables; carry just 28 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless, they are an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
- Spring Turnip Frittata– Eating Health
- Glazed Turnips– Epicurious
- Farro with Caramelized Root Vegetables– William Sonoma