Rutabagas and turnips are cool season vegetables that prefer sunny locations and fertile, deep, well-drained soils. For more information on rutabagas and turnips, click here.
VARIETIES: Many good rutabaga and turnip varieties are available in Utah. American Purple Top and Marian are suitable rutabaga varieties that do well in Utah. Turnip varieties include Purple Top, White Globe and Just Right Hybrid.
Before planting, incorporate 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 2 to 4 cups of all purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 inches of soil. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- Seeds should be planted ¼ to ½ inch deep and thinned when plants have three to four leaves.
- Seed turnips every four weeks for season long production.
- High summer temperatures reduce growth, decrease quality and cause bitter flavors.
Irrigation: Water regularly, applying 1 to 2 inches per week depending on the weather. Mulching around the plants helps to conserve soil moisture. Water fluctuations can cause root disorders, woody rots and bitter flavor. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: Apply ¼ cup of nitrogen-based fertilizer per 10 feet of row six weeks after emergence to encourage rapid plant growth. Place fertilizer to the side of the plant and irrigate into the soil. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Rutabaga and turnip leaves can be harvested anytime after they reach full size. Roots mature 60 to 80 days after seeding. Use a digging fork to loosen soil and pull up plants by the tops. Start harvesting when rutabaga roots reach 4 inches in diameter and the turnip is 2 inches. Both rutabagas and turnips are tolerable to frost. Many gardeners overwinter rutabagas and turnips under a layer of mulch.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, cabbage worms and flea beetles are common pests of turnips and rutabagas. Appropriate chemicals and regular watering are ways to manage these problems. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.