Turnips make a great addition to fresh salads with zingy dressings, heartwarming winter soups or even simply roasted to perfection.
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Here's a basic guide to growing turnips in your backyard so that you can have a bountiful crop in no time at all.
How to grow and care for turnips
Plant in full sun and part shade as they need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
Best suited to cooler climates, turnips can be grown in warmer gardens when humidity is low. Hardy vegetables like turnips are undamaged by a light hard freeze (-2°C to 0°C for at least four hours); some withstand a moderate hard freeze (-4°C to -2°C).
Well-drained soil. Avoid planting turnips in the same spot as cabbage they’re from the same family and this will help reduce soil-borne diseases.
Water regularly as turnips need 2-3cm of moisture each week, whether through rain or supplemental watering.
Apply fertiliser to ensure the fertility of your garden’s soil and to generate vigorous plant growth.
How to sow turnips
Sow your turnips in late winter to early autumn. Sowing seeds remains a key part of vegetable gardening for two practical reasons: first, rapidly germinating vegetables, such as turnips, radishes, pumpkins, corn and beans, are generally easier to grow from seeds, planted directly in the garden.
If you plant seeds outdoors, follow the seed packet instructions regarding planting time, depth and spacing. It’s typical to plant more seeds than you need, then thin out the seedlings after they emerge. Sow seed 1cm deep and around 15 to 20cm apart. Thin to 10cm.
Harvest turnips between six to nine weeks. Harvest when no larger than a tennis ball.
What varieties of turnips are there?
Other varieties of turnips include ‘Golden Globe’, ‘White Mini’ and ‘Purple Top’ turnips