In Siberia turnips grow wild! Turnips are an easy vegetable to grow if started at the right time of year and may be planted in spring and late summer or fall depending on your growing seasons. Turnips mature in two months from the time planted.
When planting for a spring harvest one should plant the seeds as early as possible in the spring, and when planting for a fall harvest one should plant the seeds about 70 days before the expected date of the first frost. Plant turnip seeds 1/2 of an inch deep at a rate of between 3 and 20 seeds per foot in rows at least 16 inches apart. As the turnips grow and reach 2 inches tall thin the plants to 6 inches apart if desired the greens of the thinned turnips may be eaten. The greens may be continually harvested without injuring the turnip root as long as you are careful not to disturb the growing point.
The best varieties of turnips to grow for the root include: Golden Ball, Scarlet Queen, Purple Top White Globe, and White Lady. The best varieties of turnips to grow for the leaves or greens include: Topper, Alltop, and Seven Top.
Nutritional Values of Turnips
1 cup raw turnip cubes
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving|
|Vitamin E||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.1 mcg|
Health Benefits of Turnips
Turnips are a starchy vegetable; however, they only have 1/3 of the calories as potatoes which are another common starchy vegetable. This makes them a good alternative when you desire to serve a starchy vegetable.
Turnips also offer a good source of wide array of nutrients including many antioxidants which fight free radicals. Because of this high concentration of antioxidants turnips are considered a health promoting vegetable.
The greens of the turnip are more nutrient dense than the root. Making the turnip greens a wise choice when dark green leafy vegetables are desired.
Getting the Most Out of Turnips
To ensure the freshest turnips look for firm turnips with pearly skin. It is best to buy turnips with the leaves still attached when possible. The small to medium sized turnips will be the sweetest. Turnips may be eaten raw or cooked. Mashed turnips may be served as a less starchy alternative to mashed potatoes. The turnip greens are also edible.
Try to use turnips within a few days of purchasing as cold storage increases their bitterness.
Turnip Concerns and Cautions
Root maggots can be a problem when growing turnips in the same area where turnips, rutabagas or radishes were grown the year before. Treat the soil with the appropriate insecticide before planting to resolve this issue.
Additional Turnip Resources
Learn more about the nutritional information of turnips.
The University of Illinois has an article about more growing information for turnips.
And why not read more on health information for turnips.