Turnip Essentials

By National Gardening Association Editors


  • Turnips mature in about 2 months.
  • Fall crops are usually sweeter and more tender than spring crops, and insects are less of a problem late in the season.
  • For best results, sow spring crops as soon as the soil can be worked.


  • Before planting add fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds of 10-10-10 or its equivalent per 50 square feet.
  • Prepare beds rather than rows.


  • Broadcast turnip seed over a well-tilled bed. Rake to cover seeds with 1/2 inch of soil or use a tiller set on shallow to bury the seeds.


  • Do not thin if growing turnips for greens only.
  • For turnip roots, thin seedlings to stand 2 to 4 inches apart when they are 4 inches high.
  • Water deeply once a week (about 1 inch of water at a time) so the roots don't become tough and bitter.
  • Mulch heavily.
  • See the article Summer's Bad Guys by Charlie Nardozzi for how to control common turnip pests such as root maggots.


  • Harvest turnips at any eating size during the growing season.
  • In the fall, dig mature roots before the ground freezes and store in a cool place.

Other articles in this series:
1. History of Root Crops
2. All About Horseradish
3. Beet Varieties
4. Carrot Varieties
5. Radish Varieties
6. Celeriac - Lazy Man's Celery
7. Turnip and Rutabaga Varieties
8. Parsnip Varieties
9. All About Salsify
10. Selecting Root Crop Seeds
11. Planning Your Root Crop Garden
12. How Root Crops Grow
13. Carrot Essentials
14. Parsnip Essentials
15. Radish Essentials
16. Turnip Essentials ← you're on this article right now

This article is a part of our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Other Root Crops / Getting Started.

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