Summer turnips are great for salads, pickles, and stir-fries. Any place that you would use spinach or Swiss chard, you can give turnip greens a try. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Turnips Guide and grow food. Turnips make excellent pickles.
Brassica rapa var. rapa
We Recommend: Even if turnips “aren’t your thing,” we still recommend that you try Hakurei (TR815) for its mild flavour and crisp texture. It is fast growing, nutritious, and both the greens and roots are delicious.
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: 2-10. Hardy for overwinter growing in Zone 7+
Direct sow in March and April and again August to the beginning of October (weather permitting). Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-21°C (66-70°F). Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days.
Sow 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep in rows spaced 45-60cm (18-24″) apart, and thin to 10-15cm (4-6″) apart in the row.
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. Humus-rich, deeply cultivated soil is key. Add plenty of well rotted compost or manure to th ebeds and cultivate to a depth of 20cm (8″). Dig in 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer for every 3m (10′) of row. The real secret to success with turnips is speed. Sow short rows every 2-3 weeks, thin them quickly, keep them watered, harvest, and then sow some more.
Gather greens and roots from June to October. Immature seed pods are also tasty.
At least 80% of seeds will germinate in optimal conditions. Usual seed life: 4 years. Per 100′ row: 300 seeds, per acre: 87M seeds.
Diseases & Pests
Remember that turnips are members of the Brassica family, so they should not be planted where other Brassicas have been grown in the past 4 years. This simple crop rotation will prevent nearly all diseases from occurring in the first place. Floating row cover will protect plants from cabbage moth and flea beetles.
Turnips are easy going, but benefit from mint and pea companions.
More on Companion Planting.