How to Grow Rutabagas

The humble rutabaga is often called a turnip, but rutabagas are much more useful in the kitchen, are more nutritious, and store well. Amazing yields of flavourful roots are possible in a small space. Introduce rutabagas on dip trays (like carrot sticks), soups and stews, and raw in lunch boxes. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Rutabagas from seed Guide and grow great storage vegetables for your root cellar this season.

Latin
Brassica napobrassica

Difficulty
Easy

We Recommend: Laurentian (RU692) has been a WCS favourite for many years. It’s hard to imagine improving on this reliable workhorse.

Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 2-10

Timing
Direct sow mid-June to July 15th. Optimal soil temperature: 18-21°C (65-70°F). Seeds should sprout in 7-15 days.

Starting
Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep in rows 60-75cm (24-30″) apart. Thin seedlings to 15-20cm (6-8″) apart in each row.

Growing
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. Rutabagas are moderate to heavy feeders that do best in rich, loamy soil amended with composted manure. Add 1 cup complete organic fertilizer beneath each 3m (10′) of row. Lime beds several weeks before planting. Rutabagas appreciate lots of organic matter in the soil. Water copiously in hot, dry weather.

Harvest
Pull up rutabagas when they are larger than tennis balls. Store in paper bags in a cool, dry place. Storing in dry sand or peat moss may conserve moisture and freshness. Otherwise, leave in the ground for fall harvesting. The leaves are also tasty and nutritious.

Seed Info
At least 60% of seeds should germinate in optimal conditions. Usual seed life: 4 years. Per 100′ row: 300 seeds, per acre: 65.4M seeds.

Diseases & Pests
Use a floating row cover to protect seedlings from root maggots and flea beetles. Full sized plants are not badly damaged by these insects.

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