Turnips are one of those vegetables I’d never tried until I started gardening. Freshly-harvested turnips and greens are sweet, tender, and delicious. Learn how to grow turnips, and add this cool-weather root vegetable (and its greens) to your table.
5 Tips for How to Grow Turnips
Want to try turnips? Here are 5 tips for how to grow turnips.
1. Give turnips what they need to grow well
- Grow turnips in rich, well-drained soil high in organic matter.
- Keep soil evenly moist throughout the growing season to keep turnips from becoming woody.
- Mulch soil to preserve moisture and prevent weeds.
- Although turnips prefer cool weather, they do best with at least 6 hours of sun. Turnips will tolerate partial shade.
2. Plant turnips at the right time
For a continuous harvest, plant turnips every week or 10 days throughout the growing season.
In cooler areas, begin planting turnips 2-3 weeks before your last frost date for a spring harvest. Plant again in late summer for a fall harvest.
In warmer areas, plant turnips in the fall for a winter harvest. In the low desert of Arizona, plant turnips beginning September 15th through January.
3. Plant turnips from seed
Turnips do not transplant well; start seeds directly in the garden. Plant seeds 1 inch apart and ¼ – ½ inch deep. Turnip seeds germinate quickly. Thin seedlings to 3-4 inches apart (depending on the variety) when they are 2-3 inches tall.
Use row covers to protect young plants from flea beetles and root maggots.
4. Harvest turnips when young for best flavor
Harvest bulbs 45-50 days after planting when small and flavorful, and before the weather gets hot. Begin harvesting when bulbs are about 2 inches wide or about the size of a radish.
Harvest turnip greens anytime they’ve grown to 10-12 inches. Harvest outer leaves as needed until turnip roots are harvested.