Harvesting turnip root: how and when to harvest turnips

Turnip is a fast-growing root vegetable that is ready to be harvested in just two months. There are many varieties and each has a slightly different ripening date. When are turnips ready to be picked? Turnips can be picked at different stages of growth. The timing of turnip harvest depends on your preference for large, sturdy bulbs or young, soft roots.

When to harvest turnips

There are different methods of harvesting and storing turnips. Some are discarded and bunched with the leaves and stems intact. It is best to pick them when they are 2 cm in diameter. Those that are crowned, i.e. the green ones are removed, are harvested when they are 3 cm in diameter.

The timing of turnip root harvest is determined by the variety and its growing conditions. Plants that grow in less than ideal conditions will take longer to mature. If you harvest turnip leaves, this will also decrease root production and take longer to harvest.

When are the turnips ready to be picked up?

Seed maturation varies from 28 to 75 days. Larger varieties take longer to reach their maximum size. You can also take them when they are small for a softer, sweeter taste. Turnips are sown in the spring or fall, but fall crops should be harvested before heavy frosts. However, they seem to taste sweeter when exposed to a light frost.

You must discard your turnip crop before it freezes or the roots crack and rot in the soil. Turnips store very well in cold storage, so the entire crop should be pulled out in late fall. In temperate zones, the turnip crop is kept longer in the soil by piling mulch around the plants to protect the roots from frost.

Turnip Leaves

Turnip greens are nutritious and versatile vegetables. They can be harvested from any variety of turnip, but this will prevent the production of the root. There are varieties of turnips that produce large heads of vegetables and are planted only to harvest the turnip leaves.

Simply cut the greens once if you want a rooted turnip crop. When the leaves are cut, the plant’s ability to harvest the sun’s energy for the food that feeds the root growth is reduced. Shogoin is an excellent cultivar that can only be grown for greens and can be harvested many times by the «cut and turn» method.

Storage of harvested turnips

After harvesting a turnip root, cut the vegetables and store them in a cool place. The ideal temperature is 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (0-2 C.), making the refrigerator an excellent place to store the roots.

If you have a large crop of turnips, put them in a straw-lined box in a cool warehouse or garage. Make sure the area is dry, otherwise the roots will get mould stains. They should be stored for several months, just like onions and potatoes if the humidity is below 90%.

If you don’t know when to harvest turnips and you have a crop of woody roots, peel them and save them for softer vegetables.

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