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Turnips are a vegetable that is easy to grow during the early spring or late fall months. They are members of the mustard family and have leaves that are thin, light green and hairy. They tend to like cooler weather but the soil must be at least 60 degrees to achieve the best growth. Turnips do best in well drained soil with a ph of 6.0 to 6.5 that is located in full or partial sun. They generally mature 2 months after they have been planted.
Plant the turnip seeds 1/2 inch deep into the ground with approximately three or four seeds in each space. Space the plants at around 6 inches per plant and plant the rows at least 1 to 2 feet apart. When the plants have begin to sprout you should thin out the plants and plant the single seedlings in their own spot.
Fertilize the turnips with compost after they have been planted. Turnips do not like manure as a fertilizer. Manure can add too much nitrogen and make the turnips have a bad flavor. Add 2 to 3 pounds of a 10-20-10 fertilizer over every 100 square feet of turnips. This will average out to approximately 1 cup of fertilizer for each 10-foot row.
Test the pH of the soil frequently. Keep the pH above 6.0 or your turnips will develop club root. If it falls below 6.0, add more fertilizer. Club root is a fungus that usually occurs if turnips have been planted in the same place for many years. Other pests do not usually bother turnips. If insects become a problem, cover the plants with row covers and this will eliminate them.
Harvest your turnips when they have reached a width of 2 to 3 inches. Once you pull them from the ground, wash them and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Winter turnips will be sweeter if you wait until after the first frost to harvest them.