Botanical name: Brassica rapa Rapifera Group

Plant type: Vegetable

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Turnips are biennials usually grown as annuals.

Although turnips are more of a staple in European kitchens, many southern gardeners like to grow them for their greens. Turnips take up to two months to mature.

Turnips grow best in a temperate climate but can endure light frost. Fall crops are usually sweeter and more tender than spring crops—and pests are less of a problem.



  • Select a site that gets full son.
  • Soil should be well-draining and loosened to a depth of 12 to 15 inches.
  • Mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Till soil well.
  • Start sowing as soon as the ground is workable.
  • Scatter turnip seed. Do not cover the seeds with more than 1/2 an inch of soil.
  • Once seedlings are 4 inches high, thin "early" types 2 to 4 inches apart and maincrop types to 6 inches apart. Do not thin if growing for greens only.




  • Keep the beds weed free.
  • Mulch heavily.
  • Water at a rate of 1 inch per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.







  • Harvest some turnips very early as greens.
  • Harvest early types after about 5 weeks; maincrop types after 6 to 10 weeks.
  • Harvest turnips at any size you wish. The small, young turnips are nice and tender.
  • Pull mature turnips before they become woody and before the first frost.
  • Store for up to 3 or 4 months in a cool outdoor place covered with straw.


Recommended Varieties


  • 'Just Right'
  • 'Purple Top White Globe'
  • Recommended for the Upper Midwest are 'Green Globe' and 'York Globe'
  • If you are growing turnips primarily for their greens, most any turnip variety will do.