Turnips, a fast growing, cool-weather vegetable, can take a month less to harvest than their cool-season cousin the Rutabaga. They are easy to grow, and all parts of the plant are edible.
When to Plant Turnip Seeds
Turnips can be grown in both early Spring and in late Summer for a Fall crop. In frost-free climates, sow in Fall.
Where to Plant Turnip Seeds
Select a site that gets full sun. Soil should be well-draining, light, and loosened to a depth of 10 to 15 inches, and free of any clumps of grass and stones. If the soil is heavy or poor, consider using a soil amendment such as composted organic matter or aged manure.
How to Plant Turnip Seeds
Turnips should be directly sowed into the ground; they do not transplant well. Scatter turnip seeds and cover with no more than ½ inch of fine soil. Lightly compress soil and keep evenly moist. Seedlings will emerge in 7-14 days. Once seedlings are 2 - 4 inches high, thin them to 4 to 6 inches apart. Turnips do not require much care, but consistent soil moisture is key. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Provide plants about 1 inch of water per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.
How to Harvest Turnips
Harvest once they have reached 2-3 inches in diameter. Early varieties after about 5 weeks, and main crop varieties after 6 to 10 weeks. For turnip greens, wait until the roots develop. If you are harvesting turnip greens, know that this will slow the production of the root, and will take longer to harvest.
How to Care for Turnips
Keep the beds free of weeds. Weeds will compete with plants for water, space, and nutrients. Either, weed frequently, and/or mulch heavily to prevent their seeds from germinating. Try to avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.