Home Vegetable Gardening How to Grow Delicious Turnips: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Grow Delicious Turnips: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

by Gregory
4 minutes read

How to Grow Delicious Turnips: A Comprehensive Guide


Turnips, often overlooked for their more glamorous counterparts, are a nutritious and versatile vegetable that’s easy to grow and can be enjoyed throughout the year. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully cultivate turnips in your garden.

Choosing the Right Soil and Location

Turnips prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. They can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, but slightly acidic soil (pH 6.0-6.5) is ideal. Choose a location that receives full sun to partial shade.

Planting Turnips

  • When to Plant: Turnips can be planted in early spring or late summer.
  • Spacing: Sow seeds 1 cm deep and 30 cm apart for early turnips, and 15 cm apart for maincrop turnips.
  • Thinning: Once seedlings emerge, thin them out to 10-15 cm apart for smaller turnips, or 23 cm apart for larger turnips.

Watering and Fertilizing

  • Watering: Water turnips regularly, especially during dry weather. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilize turnips every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

Pest and Disease Control

Turnips are susceptible to a few common pests and diseases, including:

  • Cabbage root fly: Protect seedlings with mesh or horticultural fleece.
  • Flea beetle: Keep soil moist and use a good fertilizer to promote plant health.
  • Powdery mildew: Keep plants well-watered and avoid overcrowding.
  • Club root: Avoid planting turnips in soil that has previously been affected by club root.

Harvesting Turnips

  • When to Harvest: Harvest turnips when they are young and small, about the size of a golf ball.
  • How to Harvest: Use a garden fork to gently lift turnips out of the ground.

Storing Turnips

Turnips can be stored for several months in a cool, dark place. Wrap them in plastic wrap or store them in a perforated bag in the refrigerator.

Turnip Varieties

There are many different varieties of turnips, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include:

  • Purple Top Milan: Early variety with white roots and purple tops.
  • Tokyo Cross: Fast-growing early variety with small, white roots.
  • Green Globe: Maincrop variety with white, round roots.
  • Snow Ball: White, globe turnip with a sweet flavor and delicious turnip tops.
  • Oasis: Summer or early variety with virus-resistant white roots.

Companion Planting

Companion planting can help to improve the health and productivity of your turnips. Good companion plants for turnips include:

  • Nasturtiums: Draw cabbage white butterflies away from turnips.
  • Mint: Deters flea beetles.
  • Marigolds: Repel nematodes.

Additional Tips

  • To improve drainage and reduce the risk of club root, add lime to the soil before planting.
  • Turnips can be eaten raw, cooked, or fermented.
  • The greens of turnips are also edible and nutritious.


Growing turnips is a rewarding experience that can provide you with a delicious and nutritious vegetable. By following the tips and advice in this guide, you can successfully cultivate turnips in your own garden and enjoy their many benefits.

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