Growing the best turnips

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Turnip Growing Time

Make time to plant turnip or swedes in your garden this season and you’ll have tasty, healthy nutritious morsels to add into warming stews come winter time. With one exception the ”Laing’s Garden” Swede Turnips are generally utilised for field purposes, rather than for the table. Dug young, well and quickly grown, Swedes are a fine vegetable, and details of cultivation are therefore a must to be in this site. Turnips and Swedes are easily raised, but to have them tender, and mild in flavour, they must be kept growing all the time and never allowed to suffer a check. Roots that are a long time in the ground are apt to become stringy and to develop a bitter, pungent taste.

Best soil for growing turnips


The first essential for good Turnips is a well pulverised soil, a light sandy loam being the most suitable. The ground must be in good condition, and land that has been heavily manured for some preceding crop is well adapted for Turnips. Should manure be necessary, it must be well decomposed. Failing cow or stable manure, Bone Dust and Superphosphate of Lime are the most suitable, and where it is necessary to use commercial fertilisers a half and half mixture of the two is recommended. In any case, manure must be applied three or four weeks before sowing the seed, and thoroughly incorporated into the soil. Over-manuring must be guarded against, as this causes the plants to run to leaf at the expense of the bulb. Turnips and Swedes, unlike Carrots and other root crops, require a shallow, not a deep, soil. As previously mentioned the ground must be finely broken up and thoroughly worked. Six or eight inches deep is quite sufficient. A compost of ashes, charcoal dust and guano or bone dust should be made and sprinkled over the bed or in the drills some days before the seed is sown, should the soil be heavy.

Turnip growing season


Turnip seed can be sown the whole year round, providing a judicious selection of varieties is made. ”Orange Jelly Turnip,” and ”Laing’s Garden Swede” are good sorts for planting during the Summer months, and may be sown from early. ”White Stone,” ”Jersey Lily,” and ”Silverball” may be sown from the middle of the season. ”Early Milan” and ”Early Munich” may be sown during the same period. ”Non-seeding White” may be sown during every month in the year. Turnips and Swedes run to seed during Summer, and sowings for this reason that ”Non-seeding” Turnip, a variety which stands a long time before going to seed, is best suited for sowing. The field varieties of Swede may be planted but must be lifted young for table use, and the Gardener is strongly recommended to stick to ”Laing’s Garden,” which is distinctly a table variety of this plant.

Growing turnip from seed

Seed may be sown broadcast, but the best method is to draw shallow drills and drop the seed in, thinly covering it with from one-half to three-quarters of an inch of fine soil. Allow from 15 to 18 inches between the rows, and when the plants are well above ground thin out to from 6 to 8 inches apart in the rows. In the case of field Swedes, which require more room, give from 18 to 21 inches between the rows, 2nd thin out the plants from 12 to 15 inches apart.

How to grow turnip at home: General Care

Thinning out for both Turnips and Swedes must be done early. Whilst the crop is growing keep the soil between the rows in a loose condition with the hoe, and destroy weeds as they appear. No further manure will be necessary, provided the soil has been properly prepared in the first place. Remember that the best antidote to the Turnip Aphid is to keep the plants in a healthy condition and to grow them rapidly! The crop should be ready for digging in about 11 to 12 weeks, and you can you cook turnip leaves just chop the young tops and cook like Spinach.

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