Growing Turnips

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Turnips are easy to grow in any well draining soil. They're a cool season crop and fast growing. For a late spring harvest, sow turnip seeds directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average last frost date in spring. Sow turnips in late summer for autumn harvest; in early autumn for late autumn harvest; and in late autumn for winter harvest in reverse-season regions.

Turnip Planting Time. Turnips are a cool-weather crop that require 30 to 60 days to come to harvest. Turnips grow best in temperatures from 40°F to 75°F. They are best harvested before temperatures exceed 75°F. Sow turnip seeds directly in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average last frost date in spring for a late spring or early summer harvest. Sow turnips in late summer for autumn harvest; in early autumn for late autumn harvest; and in late autumn for winter harvest in reverse-season regions.

Planting and Spacing Turnips. Turnips do not transplant well. Sow seed directly in the garden ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in wide rows, thin successful seedlings from 4 to 6 inches apart. Space wide rows 12 to 24 inches apart. Thin turnips grown for greens from 2 to 3 inches apart.

Water and feeding. Keep the soil moist to keep turnips growing as fast as possible. Do not let the soil dry out. When turnips grow slowly their roots become woody and strong flavored. Side dress turnips with aged compost at midseason.