The Q&A Archives: Planting and Harvesting Turnips

Question: I have never planted turnips before and would love some advice on planting and harvesting them.

Answer: Turnips thrive in cool temperatures so plan to grow yours in the spring or autumn. Ample moisture and temperatures of 50F-70F are ideal conditions and will provide you with high quality turnips. Find a sunny site and work the soil deeply, amending with plenty of aged-compost or other organic matter. Plant the seeds three weeks before your last frost, or in mid-summer for a fall harvest. Sow the seeds 1/2" deep and 3"-4" apart. Keep the soil evenly moist to promot fast growth and the best flavor. When plants are 5" tall, apply a mulch 2"-3" thick. If you use compost as a mulch, no other fertilizer will be necessary. The mulch will help keep soil moisture even and will help suppress weeds. Small roots are the most tender, so harvest about 60 days after planting, carefully digging the 1"-3" turnips.

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