All About Growing Turnips and Rutabagas

Grow turnips and rutabagas to bring rich, earthy flavors to your kitchen. This guide includes information on types of turnips and rutabagas and how to plant these versatile fall vegetables, plus recipes for scrumptious turnip greens.

| August/September 2013

Turnips and Rutabagas

Turnips and rutabagas add an earthy-tasting crunch to a cool-season garden.

Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Growing turnips and rutabagas is easy, and these earthy-tasting vegetables are among the most dependable cool-weather crops. Chilly temperatures make turnip greens sweeter and enhance the crisp texture of turnip and rutabaga roots. Harvested turnips and rutabagas will store for months in the refrigerator, lasting well into winter.

Types of Turnips and Rutabagas to Try

Salad turnips (Brassica rapa) quickly grow into robust plants, making them a good choice for both spring and fall plantings. They produce a uniform crop of sweet, crunchy roots the size of golf balls, ideal for eating raw or pickling. Salad turnips also produce delicious greens.

All-purpose turnips (Brassica rapa), which include purple-top varieties, take longer to mature than salad turnips but yield larger roots. Young greens that have been exposed to frost are a special fall treat, and roots can be harvested as needed until the ground freezes. You can also grow these turnips and greens for your livestock.

Rutabagas (B. napobrassica) are an ancient cross between turnips and cabbage, with thick, dark leaves similar to those of broccoli. Rutabagas take twice as long as turnips to mature, but the dense, buttery roots are worth the wait.

For more information about types of turnips and rutabagas and our recommended varieties, see our Turnips and Rutabagas at a Glance chart.

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