Brassica rapa subsp. rapa
Turnips are a versatile root vegetable and leafy green, thriving in cooler weather. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5. Enrich the soil with organic matter or a balanced fertilizer before planting.
Turnips can be direct-sown in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring for a late spring/early summer harvest and again in late summer for a fall harvest. They have a relatively short growing season and can be harvested within 2 months of planting.
Sow turnip seeds 1/2 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 4-6 inches apart to allow enough room for the roots to grow. Consistent moisture is important for uniform growth, so water regularly, especially during dry spells. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
For detailed information on growing turnips, including varieties and care tips, refer to our comprehensive turnip grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Common pests include root maggots and aphids. Diseases like clubroot can affect turnips. Use row covers to protect young plants and apply appropriate organic or chemical controls as necessary. Good sanitation and crop rotation help prevent disease.
Harvest turnips when they are about 2-3 inches in diameter for the best flavor and texture. Larger turnips can become woody. The greens can also be harvested when they are young and tender.
Storage and Preservation
Store turnips in a cool, humid place or in the refrigerator for several weeks. The greens should be used within a few days. Turnips can be blanched and frozen for long-term storage.