Growing Turnips

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History of Turnips

The turnip comes from the same family as the collard and cabbage. Resultingly, its leaves are edible and the entire plant is routinely eaten. The turnip is known for its unique flavor and its versatility in use. It can create a bountiful harvest as it is an excellent producer for humans and livestock. Some larger sub-species can be 2 pounds per turnip. Turnips are high producers on the farm. The origin is unknown, but they are widely suspected of originating in the Middle East. Turnips are neither tubers nor leafy vegetables – they are called “taproots”. This curious name evolved from that fact that a portion of the turnip is visible above ground.

Their flavor resembles mustard greens in that it is sharp and very distinctive. Until the18th century, Europe primarily cultivated the turnip as a feed for animals, and as a garden curiosity. The turnip has not been regarded very long as an accepted vegetable for human consumption.

Turnip Growing Needs

The turnip also requires a non-competitive root environment to flourish. The ground should be tilled properly to remove competing root systems. The turnip is flexible with the ability to grow in light and poorer soils, and can also be used to enrich lighter soils while serving as a feed for stock. The turnip thrives with less water and nutrient requirements than other plants, earning it a reputation for being a hardy plant. The turnip does well in moderate moisture, and slightly acidic soils. They require good soil aeration and do not do well in soils with very high moisture content. Like others in its family turnips are cold resistant and drought tolerant.

Turnip Pests

Flea beetles, clubroot, root knot, leaf spot, white rust, scab, anthracnose, and the turnip mosaic virus may attack turnips. Scab is only a surface infection that can easily be removed with superficial washing and skinning. The other pests destroy the taproot and render the vegetable unusable.