How to Grow Turnips: Turnip Triumph

Posted on Categories:"How To Grow", Edible Plant Growing Information
How to Grow Turnips

How to Grow Turnips

Turnips (Brassica rapa) are versatile root vegetables that can be grown in various climates. Known for their crisp, white roots and nutritious greens, turnips are a rewarding addition to any garden. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of growing turnips, from selecting the right varieties to harvesting and savoring these tasty and nutritious delights.

1. Introduction to Turnips:

Turnips belong to the Brassicaceae family and are appreciated for their edible roots and greens. These cool-season crops thrive in the spring and fall, offering a quick turnaround from seed to harvest.

2. Choosing Turnip Varieties:

Selecting the right turnip variety is essential for a successful harvest.

  • Purple Top Turnips: A classic variety with a white root and a purple top.
  • Tokyo Cross Hybrid: Known for its fast growth and sweet flavor, making it suitable for both roots and greens.

3. Selecting the Right Growing Conditions:

Turnips are adaptable, but they thrive under specific growing conditions.

  • Climate: Turnips prefer cool weather and can be grown as both a spring and fall crop. They are frost-tolerant and even sweeten after a light frost.
  • Sunlight: Provide full sun for optimum root development. However, turnips can tolerate partial shade.
  • Soil: Well-draining, loose soil rich in organic matter is ideal. Turnips prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH.

4. Starting Turnips from Seeds:

Growing turnips from seeds is the most common and cost-effective method.

  • Seed Starting: Sow turnip seeds directly into the garden or start them indoors for early planting. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

5. Transplanting Turnip Seedlings:

Turnip seedlings can be transplanted once they have grown to a suitable size.

  • Spacing: Space turnip plants about 4 to 6 inches apart to allow for adequate root development.

6. Watering Turnips:

Turnips need consistent moisture to develop plump and tasty roots.

  • Watering Schedule: Keep the soil consistently moist, providing about 1 inch of water per week. Be mindful of dry spells and water accordingly.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around turnip plants to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

7. Fertilizing Turnips:

Turnips benefit from a balanced fertilizer to support their growth.

  • Fertilizer Application: Apply a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer before planting or at the time of sowing seeds. Side-dress with additional fertilizer during the growing season.

8. Companion Planting with Turnips:

Strategic companion planting can enhance the growth of turnips and deter pests.

  • Companion Plants: Plant turnips near crops like peas, beans, and radishes. Avoid planting them near mustard or potatoes.

9. Protecting Turnips from Pests:

While turnips are relatively hardy, certain pests can pose a threat.

  • Pest Control: Protect turnips from flea beetles and root maggots by using row covers or applying natural pest control methods.

10. Harvesting Turnips:

Harvesting turnips at the right time ensures optimal taste and texture.

  • Timing: Harvest turnip roots when they reach 2-3 inches in diameter. Younger turnips are more tender and flavorful.
  • Harvesting Greens: Turnip greens can be harvested throughout the growing season. Snip leaves from the outer part of the plant, allowing the inner leaves to continue growing.

11. Storing and Enjoying Turnips:

Proper storage and culinary preparation are key to enjoying turnips to the fullest.

  • Storage: Store turnip roots in the refrigerator for up to a month. Trim greens before storage to prevent moisture loss.
  • Cooking Methods: Turnips can be enjoyed raw in salads, roasted, mashed, or added to soups and stews.

12. Overwintering Turnips:

Turnips can endure light frosts, and their flavor often improves after exposure to cold temperatures.

  • Cold Tolerance: Mulch around turnip plants to protect them from severe cold. In mild climates, turnips can be overwintered for a continuous harvest.

13. Health Benefits of Turnips:

Turnips are a nutrient-rich addition to a healthy diet.

  • Low in Calories: Turnips are low in calories but high in fiber, making them a great choice for weight management.
  • Rich in Vitamins: Turnips contain vitamins C, K, and various B vitamins, contributing to overall health.


Growing turnips allows you to enjoy these crisp, flavorful vegetables straight from your garden. By following these guidelines, you’ll cultivate robust turnip plants, enhancing your culinary adventures with the freshness and goodness of homegrown produce. Happy gardening and bon app├ętit!