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Botanical name: Brassica rapa Rapifera Group

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Turnips are biennials usually grown as annuals.

Although turnips are more of a staple in European kitchens, many southern gardeners like to grow them for their greens. Turnips take up to two months to mature.

Turnips grow best in a temperate climate but can endure light frost. Fall crops are usually sweeter and more tender than spring crops—and pests are less of a problem.


  • Select a site that gets full son.
  • Soil should be well-draining and loosened to a depth of 12 to 15 inches.
  • Mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Till soil well.
  • Start sowing as soon as the ground is workable.
  • Scatter turnip seed. Do not cover the seeds with more than 1/2 an inch of soil.
  • Once seedlings are 4 inches high, thin "early" types 2 to 4 inches apart and maincrop types to 6 inches apart. Do not thin if growing for greens only.


  • Keep the beds weed free.
  • Mulch heavily.
  • Water at a rate of 1 inch per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.



  • Harvest some turnips very early as greens.
  • Harvest early types after about 5 weeks; maincrop types after 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Harvest turnips at any size you wish. The small, young turnips are nice and tender.
  • Pull mature turnips before they become woody and before the first frost.
  • Store for up to 3 or 4 months in a cool outdoor place covered with straw.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Just Right'
  • 'Purple Top White Globe'
  • Recommended for the Upper Midwest are 'Green Globe' and 'York Globe'
  • If you are growing turnips primarily for their greens, most any turnip variety will do.


Cooking Notes

Both the turnip roots and greens are very nutritious.

Wit & Wisdom

Turnips like a dry bed but a wet head.

Young turnips are so tender that you can peel and eat them just as you would an apple.


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How do I harvest and store

By Ginny Gibson

How do I harvest and store the seedlings?

I tried growing turnips in


I tried growing turnips in plastic bags but the leaves were growing very healthily and I was thinking I will get good turnips but I was disappointed to see very small bulbs. What is the reason?

One possibility is that the

By Almanac Staff

One possibility is that the variety grown was one developed specifically for harvesting the tops for turnip greens. Some of these types, such as 'Alltop', grow a small bulb.
Some varieties that are grown for their root are intended to be harvested when they are quite small, such as 1 or 2 inches in diameter. Check the recommended harvesting size for your variety.
Be careful about spacing. If turnip roots are overcrowded, they will be small or malformed.

what if anything do you put

By Gary Hutchins

what if anything do you put in the seeds to keep them from being planted to thick?

Yes, the turnip seeds are

By Almanac Staff

Yes, the turnip seeds are very small!
It's best to plant thickly in a straight, narrow line. Cover the seeds about ½ inch deep. Then you'll need to "thin" the seedlings once they emerge. Water lightly and frequently for good germination.

hi would like to plant some

By frank brantley

hi would like to plant some mustar green, in my raised bed,but can not find the seeds at my local stores, got any suggestions,

I typed Mustard Greens Seeds

By georgewilson

I typed Mustard Greens Seeds into amazon.com and what do you know? There are a bunch of garden stores there. If you can't find at your local garden store, you could call your local county cooperative extension for advice.

Today is January 21st, and

By Barry Jordan

Today is January 21st, and I'm located in southern Virginia. I have raised garden beds that work as greenhouses for the early and late seasons (the plastic comes off when it warms up enough). Can I plant my Purple Top White Globe's now, or should I wait? Recall, they will be in a greenhouse condition.

Hi Barry, The Purple Top

By Almanac Staff

Hi Barry,
The Purple Top White Globe turnips are extremely hardy and it's recommended to plant the seeds as soon as possible in the spring for an early harvest. You can plant the seeds now and just be careful that the temps. don't get too warm in your "greenhouse" on sunny days.

i have planted purple top

By melody harris

i have planted purple top turnips. they are beautiful and taste wonderful. turnips are a little strong but otherwise very tasty. my question is with them being good size both greens and turnips should i harvest both the greens and turnips as we are expecting below freezing temperatures tonight and for two days more?

Turnips are best as a fall

By Almanac Staff

Turnips are best as a fall crop but can withstand several light freezes. Frost actually improves the flavor. You can harvest them now if you like and store them in cool, dark place to enjoy during the winter months. Or you can add some mulch over the tops and harvest as you need them.

Why would a turnip grow

By Kate Micco

Why would a turnip grow entirely above the ground...are they edible. I have elongated pink bulb like turnips with lovely greens...what is the cause of this type of growth?

Hi, Kate: Something like this

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Kate: Something like this is usually caused because the turnips were stressed. They were planted too far outside cold enough weather (i.e., it was too warm for them) or something is bothering their roots, like a pest of some sort. Or the soil could be unusually rich (sometimes the case) or poor. Carefully dig up a whole root system like an archaeologist and see if the roots can give you a clue. Then eat 'em up, sure!

We planted turnips, they are

By Evelyn Gratzer

We planted turnips, they are great looking sowed them and raked them in. Not too deep as said. There are great greens and no bulbs.Greens are 12 in tall or less. Why no turnip ? We have a lg. bed of greens only .

Hi, Evelyn, Some possible

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Evelyn, Some possible reasons:
• improper soil pH; it should be 6.0 to 7.5, in fertile organic matter.
• turnips need plentiful, consistent moisture.
• some varieties are grown strictly for their greens and produce poor roots/bulbs. Recommended are Gilfeather, Purple Top White Bloge, and Tokyo Cross.
Hope this helps!


By ambanpola


how deep do you plant the

By enlal frazier

how deep do you plant the turnip seed? and how many days to harvest.

Read above: Do not cover the

By Almanac Staff

Read above: Do not cover the seeds with more than 1/2 an inch of soil.
Turnips have a maturity date of 40 to 60 days, depending on the variety.

i planted my swedish turnips

By galeb2

i planted my swedish turnips in late april. some of them have started flowering now. have i left them in to late? i read o another site someone sayinf when they flower, you have left them in the ground to long so i have been tryin to find out but i cant seem to find any info online to help me :(

By swedish turnips, I think

By AndrewS

By swedish turnips, I think galeb2 means what you statesiders call Rutabaga. In which case you'll need to sow in May or June so that they are forming turnips in fall. They're vulnerable to all sorts of pests and drought, so deep well drained soil, constantly moist but not wet, and plenty of pest protection.

Turnips can grow in spring

By Almanac Staff

Turnips can grow in spring but you have to get them in really early to keep them from flowering. We'd set them in the ground 2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. It's even easier to grow turnips in the fall when the days and nights get cooler and longer.

when is the best time to

By fred bottom

when is the best time to plant turnips in the fall

Turnips can be planted any

By Almanac Staff

Turnips can be planted any time during the summer until about 70 days before a killing frost so that they have time to grow.

soft turnips

By Linda Pippin

what causes turnips to get soft only after aday. I am experimenting for a fall harvest to place in root cellar. they are great tasting, sweet, but in a day after I place a few on my outdoor table they got soft. I did not cut off greens could that be the problem?

Yes, you should remove the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you should remove the turnips greens. Turnips should not be left out at room temperature as this will cause them to wilt and become limp. Like any root vegetable, they require a cool, dark, dry environment for storage.
Good luck!

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