Turnip (Brassica rapa) is a fresh market root vegetable that reaches maturity about 50-70 days after planting. Turnip leaves are usually hirsute (hairy) and light- to medium-green in color and can be eaten as greens. Varieties grown for greens reach maturity about 30-45 days after planting. Varieties grown for roots are designated as salad or storage varieties, with salad turnips being tender, mild, and able to be eaten raw, whereas storage turnips are more commonly cooked before eating, although there is some overlap. Salad turnips reach maturity slightly faster (35-50 days after planting) than storage turnips (45-70) days after planting. Turnip roots generally have little or no neck and a distinct taproot. Best quality results when the crop reaches edible size under moderately cool temperatures.
Rutabaga (Brassica napa, napobrassica group) is commonly known as yellow turnip or swede. It is thought to be a cross between turnip (B. rapa) and wild cabbage (B. oleracea) and developed in central Europe. The leaves are bluish in color, thick and waxy like cabbage leaves, and smooth. Rutabagas have short necks with leaf scars, and they require about a month longer to mature than turnips (90-100 days). In northern New England, rutabagas are more popular than turnips. If planted early in the spring, rutabagas will be of poor quality (woody and tough). For best quality, plant from mid-June to mid-July in northern to southern New England, respectively, timing harvest to occur in the cool weather of fall after a few light frosts.
Types and Varieties
|Rutabaga and Turnip Varieties|
|Turnip for Greens||Rutabaga|
|Southern Green||Macomber Turnip (popular in southeastern MA)|
|Turnip for Storage|
|Turnip for Salads||Purple Prince|
|Bella Luna||Purple Top White Globe|
|Hakurei F1||Scarlet Ohno Revival|
|Hirosaki Red||Violet Queen|
|Scarlet Ohno Revival|
|Scarlet Queen Red Stems|
|Tokyo Silky Sweet|
Apply lime according to soil test results to maintain soil pH at 6.5-6.8.
Turnip following other vegetables in the same season may not require the application of additional fertilizer as turnip is an efficient scavenger of residual nutrients.
|PLANT NUTRIENT RECOMMENDATION ACCORDING TO SOIL TEST RESULTS FOR RUTABaGA AND TURNIP|
|RUTABAGA AND TURNIP||NITROGEN (N) LBS PER ACRE||PHOSPHORUS (P) LBS P2O5 PER ACRE||POTASSIUM (K) LBS K2O PER ACRE|
|SOIL TEST RESULTS||VERY LOW||LOW||OPTIMUM||ABOVE OPTIMUM||VERY LOW||LOW||OPTIMUM||ABOVE OPTIMUM|
|Broadcast and Incorporate||50||150||100||25-50||0||100||75||25||0|
Rutabaga: Seed to 4-8" within rows and 30" between rows 0.25" deep. This requires 1.5-2 lb of seed per acre (about 1/4 oz per 100 feet of row).
Turnip: Seed to 2-3" within rows and 14-18" between rows 0.5" deep. This requires about 6 lb of seed per acre (or about 0.33 oz/100 ft row.)
Harvesting and Storage
Mature salad turnips are harvested when the roots are about 2" in diameter; storage turnips can be harvested slightly larger. Both types of turnip can become pithy if harvested too large. For highest quality, rutabagas should be harvested when they are 3-5" in diameter at the top end and weigh 2-3 lb. Rutabagas and turnips can be stored for long periods at 32º F and at a relative humidity of 90-95%. Chilling prior to harvest improves the flavor of rutabagas by aiding the conversion of starch to sugar, reducing strong or bitter flavor.