Turnip – Introduction

The turnip is a versatile vegetable. You can use its young roots for various purposes and in different ways. For instance, you can eat it raw, roast it or add it to stews. Moreover, you can also cook its leaves.  

Sowing Turnips

Seeds are the best way to grow the Turnips. You can harvest it within 6-10 weeks of sowing. The best place for growing turnip should be sunny and moisture retentive. Besides, you can also use large containers to sow the turnips outdoors. 

There are two main types of turnips. These types are different based on harvesting time and sowing time. 

·        Maincrop turnips – their sowing time starts from July and ends in mid-August. The harvesting time of this cultivar is winter and autumn. 

·        Early turnips – sowing time of this cultivar starts from March and ends in June. You can harvest them throughout summer. 

Some varieties can also be sown in February. These varieties include the “Milan Purple Top” and “Atlantic.” However, you must sow these varieties under cloches.  

Keep the following things in mind while sowing the turnip

· Drill shallower

· Sow the seeds thinly

· Ensure that you have sown the seeds in the depth of 0.5 inches. 

· Ensure a distance of 9-12 inches between the rows

· Ensure that the early turnips are at a distance of 1 ft from the maincrops. There needs to be a space of at least or around 6 inches between the rows.  


· Thin out seedlings for early cultivars to ensure that there is a distance of 6 inches between plants 

· Thin out the seedlings for maincrops to ensure that there is a distance of 9 inches between the plants 

· Thinning is not essential if you’re harvesting the turnips for leafy tops.  

· Water the turnip plants regularly during dry weather conditions. Dry conditions results in bolting, preventing root swelling. 



The harvesting time of the turnip depends on the sowing time and the variety you have sown. Here’s the harvesting time of different cultivars:

Turnip tops: 

You can harvest the turnips in March and April. These varieties continue to re-sprout. So, you can pick these turnips several times. 


You can harvest this turnip cultivar from mid-October onwards. Pick these turnips when they reach the size of a golf ball.  

Early crop:

You can harvest the early crop from May to September.  If you want to use them for raw eating, harvest them when they reach the size of a golf ball. On the other hand, pick the turnips when they get to the size of a tennis ball if you want to cook it.


Common problems

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

Flea beetle

It creates small holes in the leaves. Flea beetle affects the seedlings the most. Brown leaves are the symptoms of the infestation of flea beetle. 


· Water the plants regularly to retain soil moisture

· Cover the plants with horticulture fleece

· Feed the plants with nitrogen-rich fertiliser  

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
  • Grow the plants in pots
  • Avoid growing the plant in affected soil.

Here are 25 recipes for turnips from Country Living

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09/03/2021 | Vegetables | 0 Comments

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