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pattimair
Too late for turnips?

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So I planted turnip seeds in late August and they came up in a few days-very rewarding. I had empty space from harvesting potatoes so I thought I would try a cool weather crop-I think that's what turnip is. Am I likely to get turnips in fall and winter? My experience with them in the past is always that they bolt and I have never harvested a turnip. Someone told me they have a special mineral requirement but I don't remember what that was. If you have any advice for me I would love to hear from you.

I find that turnips are the last root crops that can be planted in my area (Maine) and climate (cool).  Your conditions, however, are most likely different.  If they've bolted on you in the past, you might try planting a few short rows staggered over three weeks and see which row, if any, works best.  Take note of your results and use them in planning next year's planting schedule.
Hi, Turnips (Brassica rapa) are in the cole family & can be sown when other cole plant seeds are sown.You may have some aphid & caterpillars, checkout "Garden Pest" Group on how to stop them. The seeds should be sown in a loose friable loam. Good drainage is a must, irrigate in dry soil( should not be a problem for you). Turnips like moderate fertility for best crop. The optimum pH for turnips is 6.0-6.5. I always till the bed, then spread lime pellets, then rake the bed flat, BEFORE sowing the turnips. One year I raked after I sowed the seeds. NOT ONE came up. I though I had bad seeds untill another gardener told me that the seeds will not come up under too much soil. That is after they had a big laugh ( seems alot of people plant turnips to deep. You can stew the greens & freeze them, Pickle the roots or freeze them. Here in the south we leave them in the garden until we need them, then dig them up. I like them raw too. In zone 6 & up, I think, you will have to mulch them or put them in a root cellar.
One year I had more than enough turnips to experiment with. So I used a plastic trashcan and put a layer of hay and then a layer of turnips all the way to the top, making sure the hay was added last. Had a few air holes for ventilation and let the lid just sit on the top. Stored it in an unheated garage. Turnips lasted for months, though they did start to sprout a few leaves. I left the roots on and about 3 inches of the leaf stems. They had enough moisture to stay fresh on their own. I just took out what I needed and covered them back up !! Even had a couple of freezes and they were OK !!
Turnips like most root crops always do best when directly sown in the ground. As soon as the tap root hits the bottom of a pot or seed tray then they are likely to bolt later on.
Thanks for your input. A few more details-I have only sown turnip seed directly into the garden and always in the spring. Never has a turnip formed for me or any other gardener around me that I have toalked to. This year I am trying a fall sowing because of my failures in spring. They did sprout very quickly and now I am fighting the slugs. I believe they are a Northwest specialty those voracious monsters!!! That lime prep suggests pH issues.
Hi Patti It is unlikely that they did not germinate, unless your seed was old. It is more likely that they were grazed off by the slugs when they were seedlings, and you did not see them. It could be as Joel suggests that you sowed too deep. Remember seeds should only be covered by their own depth of soil, which is not a lot. I collect 2 litre fizzy pop bottles. Cut off the top and bottom to make a clear plastic cylinder [4" diameter and 10" long]. Push these into the ground vertically along the row of seed. These act like small plastic greenhouses which will keep the roving slugs at bay. Some slugs may come up out of the soil. If you have these you will have to sprinkle some organic slug killer into the cylinders. You could also buy some slug killing nematodes [Nemaslug or similar] to water on in the spring. I use these cylinders for all transplanted vegetables as well, as they keep the cold spring winds off the small tender plants.   Good Luck Glenn
You said your turnips did not make, only the green parts? There are several varieties that make no roots,, only the tops ! I got those by mistake one year. I just got through sowing winter greens and if your soil is fairly loose, sprinkle them on top of the soil and water them in !! The water hitting them from the sprinkler will cover them enough !! This is what I do each year. Best type to plant are purple tops and the shogoin variety. These produce large turnips as well as greens.

 

 

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