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Plant Turnips In The Garden - You Will Not Regret It
Plant Turnips In The Garden - You Will Not Regret It

Video: Plant Turnips In The Garden - You Will Not Regret It

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In the field with a flea, from the field with a cake


The headline riddle is one of the many folk riddles, proverbs and sayings associated with the turnip. And this is no coincidence. Before the emergence of potatoes in Europe and here in Russia, this crop was one of the main crops in the gardens of the villagers.

"Turnip and peas are not near the roads." This proverb says that these crops were delicious plants, they had to be sown away from prying eyes in order to save the crop.

And also remember: "… Granddaughter for grandmother, grandmother for grandfather, grandfather for turnip." In a word, we pulled out the turnip with our joint efforts. This is a fairy tale already familiar to all of us from childhood. Also in everyday life you often hear the following words: "Cheaper than a boiled turnip", "Easier than a steamed turnip." True, as far as I remember, at home we never had either boiled or steamed turnips.

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In connection with this vegetable, I also recall an interesting conversation that I once overheard on a tram. I don’t know what was discussed in the conversation between the two men, but one of them said to the other a phrase that I remembered to remember: “You scratch your turnip properly”. When I asked my father at home: how to understand these words, he laughed and explained that these words had a figurative meaning. It was only much later that I found an explanation of this phrase in the Encyclopedic Dictionary: “Turnip … 3. Peren, colloquial. About a stupid or poorly thinking head."

And although this ancient vegetable is still often used in colloquial speech, on the shelves it is found less and less … The main reason for this is its cheapness. And in fact, how much will you earn on a "penny" vegetable? Again, let's recall the already mentioned common expression: "Cheaper than a steamed turnip." That is, there is nowhere cheaper.

However, my wife and I are among the very few vegetables we grow turnips every year. Since we have a mesh fence on our site, the whole garden is clearly visible from the road. Therefore, passers-by, looking at the spreading leaves of turnip, are often surprised: "And what kind of plant is this?" We have to explain that this is our ancient Russian vegetable - turnip.

This is, we will assume, a lyrical digression, now let's move on directly to the turnip. It is a biennial vegetable plant of the Cabbage genus from the cruciferous family. In the first year, a rosette of dissected leaves and a fleshy root crop are formed; in the second, flowering shoots grow from the root, which give seeds.

Turnip is a cold-resistant and heat-resistant early maturing vegetable. The optimum temperature for growth and development is + 12 … + 20 ° С. Root crop - fleshy, flat, flat-rounded or other shape. The pulp is yellow or white, juicy, soft, sweetish. With a lack of moisture and an incorrect ratio of soil nutrients, mustard acid is formed in the root crop, which gives it a radish flavor.

The skin of the root crop is smooth, yellow or white in the lower part, yellow, green, purple, bronze or other color in the aboveground part. Lateral roots are thin, few of them, they penetrate deeply into the soil. The fodder type of turnip is turnip.

Turnip is a cheap (again!) Source of ascorbic acid, other vitamins and minerals: potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, sulfur. In turnip roots, zoned in the Northwest, dry matter 8.5-16.9%, sugar (mainly glucose) - 3.5-7%, ash 0.6-0.8%, proteins 0.8-2, 0%, and there are also vitamins C 1, B 1, B 2, PP, carotene.

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Turnip varieties

According to the duration of growth, turnip varieties can be rather conditionally divided into three groups (see table). The most common in the crops of our region is the old Russian turnip variety - Petrovskaya 1 (other names are Voshchanka, Maslyanka). This is not an early, but quite productive variety. The shape of the root crop is round-flat, the pulp is yellow, dense, juicy. In terms of taste, this is one of the best varieties. Ripens in 75-80 days.

Duration of growth in days

Culture early average late
Turnip 55-60 65-70 75-80

Varieties Mayskaya - yellow green-headed and Milanskaya - white, round-headed. Early ripening varieties ripen 60-70 days after sowing. Root crops are very tender, tasty, juicy. But these two varieties (especially Milanese) are not suitable for long-term storage, since their pulp becomes flabby.

They are only suitable for summer and autumn consumption. These varieties are moderately resistant to keel (keel is a disease caused by parasitic fungi, expressed in the formation of growths on the roots).

Variety White noch. Early maturing (55-60 days) variety, snow-white root vegetable, juicy, very sweet, does not shoot.

Namangan turnip variety. The variety is not early (65-70 days). The roots are round-flat, white, the head is green, the flesh is very dense, juicy, spicy and sweet. In addition to these well-known varieties, turnip varieties are sown in places: Solovetskaya, Karelskaya, Grobovskaya.

Recently, a new early maturing (45-60 days) cold-resistant variety of Geisha turnip has appeared. The root crop is round or flat-round, white, smooth, the flesh is white, tender, dense, very juicy. The bright green leaves can be used in salads.

As for the taste of the Geisha turnip, I have heard different opinions, sometimes even opposite ones. Some people like the taste, while others say: they say, nothing special. However, it is not for nothing that popular wisdom says: "There are no comrades for taste and color." I think this is very true in relation to the Geisha turnip.

Agrotechnics of growing turnips


The most suitable soils for growing turnips are sandy loam and loamy with a neutral and slightly acidic reaction. But he also satisfactorily tolerates the increased acidity of the soil.

Soil preparation for turnips is simple and labor-intensive. Before sowing, the bed must be thoroughly weeded, then leveled and compacted. With an interval of 20-30 cm, make grooves 1-1.5 cm deep and spread the seeds in nests (3-5 pieces each). The distance between the nests is 10-15 cm.

Seed germination will noticeably improve if, before sowing, they are heated for 20-30 minutes in a tightly closed jar immersed in water that is heated to + 50 ° C.

Sowing turnips

Since turnip seeds are quite small, it is difficult to plant them evenly. Here you can use the proven old-fashioned way: take a pinch of seeds in your mouth and spray them evenly over the garden. Once we decided to sow turnips in a "modern" way - we pasted the seeds on paper ribbons. So, only one turnip rose on a 1x5 meter garden bed. We did not conduct more such experiments.

The sown seeds must be moistened from a watering can and covered with plastic or any other film.

For summer use of turnips, the optimal time for sowing seeds in the North-West is from May 1 to 5, for winter storage - from July 1 to 10. Turnips can also be sown as a compactor along the edges of the beds: beets, carrots and other vegetable crops.

Turnip pest control


Turnip seedlings are harmed by earthen fleas, so plants must be pollinated with tobacco dust, wood ash, mustard powder, pepper infusion. As soon as the cotyledon leaves appear, the seedlings must be thinned out, leaving the strongest plant in each nest. In this case, it is desirable that the plants are in rows at a distance of 6-10 cm from each other.

As soon as the real leaves appear, pests, primarily cabbage flies and butterflies, attack the plants. From my own experience I know that butterflies are the most dangerous. Probably few people know that the well-known white butterflies, flitting in the garden and in the meadow, are divided into several species, and each species harms a certain plant.

There are mainly three harm to garden vegetables: cabbage, rutabag, and turnip. This butterfly usually leaves a clutch (a cluster of yellowish testicles) on the back of turnip leaves. After a few days, voracious greenish-gray caterpillars emerge from the oviposition, which not only creep over the leaves of the plant on which they hatched, but also move to others.

Caterpillars feed on the pulp of leaves, often bare them so that only veins remain. This, of course, significantly reduces the growing season: the plant cannot fully develop, since it is constantly oppressed. And as a result, the harvest drops sharply, root crops grow small, often ugly.

And, believe my many years of experience, no amount of "chemistry" will help here. The birds will not save either, since they do not touch the caterpillars because of their poisonousness. The only truly effective way to combat this scourge is to regularly collect it by hand. Three to four (the more, the better) times a week, it is necessary to carefully inspect each sheet from the back. And this should be done carefully so as not to damage the petioles. This is the only way to preserve the harvest.

Turnip harvest

If you manage to save turnips and get root vegetables (which I sincerely wish you), then you can still selectively harvest them. It is best to choose root vegetables with a diameter of 5-8 centimeters. Finally, the ripe turnip is harvested before the onset of frost.

Later harvesting dates are better because the roots ripen well. And if they are harvested in cooler times and from moist soil, their keeping capacity will noticeably increase. However, you should not delay cleaning, as you can freeze the turnip. It should be remembered that the ability to keep the turnips is weak, and even light withering greatly reduces it.

Therefore, when harvesting, you must quickly cut the tops and immediately send the vegetable for storage. But it is also necessary to cut the tops skillfully: in the root crops intended for planting next year, it is necessary to leave leaf petioles 10-15 mm long. After all, growth points are laid on the head of the root crop.

Unripe or overgrown root crops are poorly stored. Mechanical damage also significantly reduces the keeping quality of the turnip, since its damage does not heal. And at elevated temperatures, these vegetables begin to rot.

In winter, turnips are stored in the dark at a temperature of 0 … + 1oC and an air humidity of 90-95%. It is recommended to sprinkle the roots with cold sand or peat chips. But I must warn you that this work is very time consuming and, frankly, very dreary. For example, after several attempts I gave it up altogether. A common problem with all varieties of turnips is that they are difficult to store. But if desired, the task of preserving the harvest is quite solvable.

Turnip diseases

When storing damaged root crops, fruits of varieties with poor keeping quality, as well as improper storage, turnip is affected by various diseases. The most common ones are white and gray rot. Root crops affected by white rot soften, lose their shape, and become covered with white mycelium. With a strong development, the mycelium forms a black solid mass. The defeat of gray mold usually begins at the end of the root crop, on which a gray fluffy mycelium appears.

Quite often, turnip roots are affected by wet rot. With this disease, the affected areas soften, turning into a slimy mass with an unpleasant odor.

The source of all diseases of turnip, however, as well as other root crops, can be soil, seeds, inventory, storage itself. Therefore, in the fight against diseases, and, therefore, with the loss of crops, a set of measures is needed: compliance with crop rotation, seed dressing, spraying of crops, timely preparation of the storage facility for receiving a new crop.

Many publications claim that a radical remedy in the fight against all diseases when storing root crops (including turnips) is a rapid decrease in temperature to 0 ° C and maintaining optimal air humidity. In addition, in some publications it is recommended to process legible turnip roots with fluff lime or chalk. A chalk emulsion is also good.

Read the next part. Turnip Recipes →

Alexander Nosov, gardener

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