Crops of turnips or rutabaga require compliance with a number of criteria, including the choice of soil, sowing technique, or maintenance, to obtain the best possible result. These two vegetables have long been among the most consumed foods, and today provideĀ  series of alternatives for preparing various dishes. As vegetables that are easily and quickly propagated, they are appreciated for their various nutritional intakes and different tastes.

Turnips and rutabaga have been consumed in Europe for centuries. Initially, the turnip was consumed daily instead of the potato which was discovered later. As for the rutabaga, it serves as food for both men and cattle. The latter is particularly favoured over the turnip for its dual purpose, but also for its greater rate of success in terms of cultivation.

Overview of turnip and rutabaga

Both of them are herbaceous plants that belong to the Brassicaceae family. These two vegetables are in need of loose and wet soil, and will not be able to thrive on compacted soil. The turnip constitutes a quality nutritional supply , being low in calories but high in vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Its root, as well as leaves, are consumed and can be cooked in different ways. Thus, it can be eaten well cooked, shredded, raw or in soup.

Turnip and rutabaga planting specifications

Regarding the turnip, it is imperative that the land intended for its plantation not be too dry nor too sny, as the turnip has great water needs. Sowing will take place from mid-March to late April, in 2/5 of an inch (1 cm) deep furrows set 16 inches (40 cm) apart from each other. Following that, fill up the furrows, spread and pack the soil lightly with the back of a rake and water. The important thing is for the ground to be kept moist throughout the growth. Once well-formed leaves are present, begin the thinning procedure, for having only one plant every 4 to 4.5 inches (10 to 12 cm). In addition to regular watering, weeding and hoeing will be required to remove weeds. A layer of mulch will also help to maintain the soil’s freshness. Harvesting can take place about two months after sowing, and so we can taste the different kinds of turnips, such as the Purple-Top White Globe, the Gilfeather, the Tokyo Cross or the Scarlet Queen. The German turnip, meanwhile, is suited to all types of soils. The seeds should be sown between March and June, in furrows set 12 inches (30 cm) apart from each other and at a depth of 2 inches (5 cm). Subsequently, cover with compost, and water. The thinning procedure will take place 5 to 6 weeks later, leaving only one seedling every 8 inches (20 cm). Regarding maintenance, all that will be needed is a mulch application on the ground, to maintain a certain level of freshness. Despite the various diseases related to the presence of parasites, the German turnip is hardy and grows rapidly. Thus, a first harvest may be occur 8 to 10 weeks later, when the enlarged portion of the plant has the size of a tennis ball. This last point is important because beyond that size, the German turnip is no longer edible. Among the best varieties, one can include White Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante and Purple Danube.

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Published in Spring vegetables by Alexander on 14 Sep 2011