How to plant turnip

Brassica rapa var. rapa

The turnip is a plant grown for the consumption of its roots or its leaves and flower buds.

The root cultivars, which are the most cultivated in the world, can have these in the rounded, flattened, conical or oval shape, with 5 to 20 cm in diameter and with external coloring totally white or white with the top (the neck) purple, yellowish or greenish. The internal color can be white or yellowish. Roots are usually eaten cooked, but can also be eaten raw, especially if they are grated. The leaves of these cultivars can also be consumed.

Leaf cultivars are better known as turnip greens, and inflorescences are known as turnip greens. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots of these cultivars can also be consumed.


The turnip grows best at temperatures between 15 ° C and 22 ° C, but withstands lower temperatures and light frosts well. Grown at a high temperature, the plant can flower early, its leaves can acquire a stronger and bitter taste, and its root does not develop well and can become fibrous.


It is best to cultivate in direct sunlight, but can tolerate partial shade with good light.


The soil must be well drained, fertile, rich in organic matter, without stones and other debris. It is tolerant of soil pH, but grows best with a pH between 6 and 7.

The turnip is very sensitive to the absence of the micronutrient boron. To avoid a boron deficiency in places where the soil is poor in this micronutrient, it is recommended to use fertilizers containing boron, to apply borax or boric acid to the soil before planting, or to sprinkle the leaves of the plants with a boric acid solution. The solution can be prepared using 2 grams of boric acid to 5 liters of water. However, caution is necessary, as excess boron in the soil is also harmful.


Irrigate frequently, so that the soil always remains moist, but without being soaked.


Sowing of turnip is usually done directly in the final location, from late summer to early spring, varying with the region’s climate. In regions where the climate is always mild, it can be cultivated throughout the year.

Sow at a depth of approximately 0.5 cm in the soil. Seed germination is fast and usually only takes a few days to a week.

The spacing can vary from 30 to 40 cm between the planting lines and from 10 to 25 cm between the plants, depending on the cultivar.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.


The turnip harvest is carried out between 40 and 80 days after sowing, depending on the cultivar used and the cultivation conditions. Do not delay the harvest too much, as the roots can become woody over time, with the exception of some cultivars that can be harvested late without loss of quality.

When harvesting turnip greens, the plants can be plucked whole, or all leaves can be cut about 5 cm from the ground, which allows the plant to sprout, so that a new harvest of young leaves can be done in two or three weeks. The leaves can also be harvested individually when needed.

The turnip is a biennial plant, grown as an annual.

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