Turnip and Rutabaga
Turnips and rutabagas, similar cool-season vegetables, are
among the most commonly grown and widely adapted root crops in the
United States. They are grown in the South chiefly in the fall,
winter, and spring; in the North, largely in the spring and
Rutabagas do best in the more northerly areas; turnips are
better for gardens south of the latitude of Indianapolis, Ind., or
northern Virginia. Turnips reach a good size in from 60 to 80
days, but rutabagas need about a month longer. Being susceptible
to heat and hardy to cold, these crops should be planted as late
as possible for fall use, allowing time for maturity before hard
frost. In the South, turnips are very popular in the winter and
spring. In the North, however, July to August seeding, following
early potatoes, peas, or spinach, is the common practice.
Land that has been in a heavily fertilized crop, such as early
potatoes, usually gives a good crop without additional
fertilizing. The soil need not be prepared deeply, but the surface
should be fine and smooth. For spring culture, row planting
similar to that described for beets is the best practice.
The importance of planting turnips as early as possible for the
spring crop is emphasized. When seeding in rows, cover the seeds
lightly; when broadcasting, rake the seeds in lightly with a
garden rake. A half ounce of seed will sow a 300-foot row or
broadcast 300 square feet. Turnips may be thinned as they grow,
and the tops used for greens.
Although there are both white-fleshed and yellow-fleshed
varieties of turnips and rutabagas, most turnips are white-fleshed
and most rutabagas are yellow-fleshed.
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