Swede is the well-known term for Swedish turnip. It is a winter vegetable that requires both cool and moist weather to grow well.

In total, there are three types of swede. These are more commonly known as bronze tops, green tops, and the most common type – purple tops.

You may not like swede – however, my wife cooks and mashes it with carrots, and this is very pleasing. Give it a try. Simply chop up the swede and carrots into small cubes (they will cook faster like that) and then mash them up together. Add a knob of butter, and you have a tasty vegetable for your roast dinner. You can also mash it with some nutmeg or a little bit of pepper. Adding some cream to the mash can enhance its flavour and make it tasty. 


See below for some more recipes making use of swede.

Heavier soil and moisture are the combination of growing conditions that swedes love the most.


  • Choose a sunny and open site for these vegetables. 
  • Make sure soil is drained free and moisture retentive.
  • Add garden composts or manure to retain the soil moisture.
  • Apply general purpose fertiliser to enhance the mineral content of the soil. Vitax Q4 is the best fertiliser that you can use. 
  • Sow the swedes in seedbeds in early May in the north. The time to sow in the south is mid-June. 
  • Ensure that the seeds are in the depth of ¾ inches 
  • Mae sure the rows are 15 inches apart.
  • Space out the seedlings, so that they are 9 inches apart

You can also sow the swedes as plugs in modular trays with potting compost. The plants will easily pull out once the roots have covered the whole cell. 


Swede needs at least six months for them to mature. So follow the tips below to make the Swede grow effectively.

  • Help the soil retain moisture, using the mulches etc., that we have mentioned on all the other veg.
  • Remove the weeds from the crop. These can suck the life out of the earth, resulting in small vegetables.
  • Thin out the seedlings to ensure a distance of 9 inches between each of them. They need good growing room.
  • Water the plants regularly during dry spells.
  • Make sure there is no corky growth or cracking by keeping the soil moist. If the moisture is not enough or roots are dry, it will cause the veggie to taste bitter. 


You can lift the swede roots from September to November. Besides, if you don’t want to pick them immediately, you can leave them in the soil until Christmas. They will keep happily in the ground until. 

  • Cover the roots with bracken or straw if there is likely to be cold weather 
  • Store the roots in soil containers or potting compost in a garage or a shed.

Common problems

Powdery Mildew

Leaves become stunted and shrink as white powdery deposit forms on the leaf surface.


  • Grow the plant in colder conditions
  • Keep the soil moist.


The plants with clubroot show the following symptoms:

  • Roots become distorted and swollen.
  • Leaves become pale yellow.

Even the death of the plant may also occur with this disease.


  • Add lime to the soil. Lime will make the soil alkaline.
  • Improve drainage
  • Avoid growing the plant in affected soil.

Cabbage root fly

It primarily affects the seedlings. The white larvae of cabbage root fly eat the roots. As a result,

  • The growth of the plants get affected
  • The plant will wilt or die.


Use horticulture fleece and insect-free netting over the crop.

There are loads of recipes using swede on the All Recipes website. Check them out

For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.

08/06/2021 | Vegetables | 0 Comments

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