Turnip 'Purple Top' - Seed
Sweet and juicy!
Turnip (Brassica rapa) seed requires no prior treatment and the seed can be sown immediately.Sowing method
Sow outdoors in the garden - March and April for earliers, July and August for lates. If you want even earlier, sow in the cold frame February and March.
For sowing, a sunny place is best in a part of the kitchen garden that was well fertilised the previous winter.
Sow outdoors in March and April.
Loosen the soil with a fork to 30 cm deep. Make a straight grove approx. 1 cm deep and label the row. Mix the seed with dry, sharp sand and sprinkle it along the row between thumb and forefinger as thinly as possible. Cover with half a cm of soil, press carefully down and sprinkle with water. Extra rows should be 30 cm apart.
If sowing under cold frame or in the greenhouse, you can do this from February already (as above). Grow them on here because the seedlings don't take kindly to transplanting.
The seed should germinate in 7-14 days. Thin the seedlings out after 2 or 3 weeks and leave remaining plants at 15 cm apart.
This variety of turnip/swede (Brassica rapa) has a lovely white flesh and a reddish purple skin. It differs from winter turnip which has a tougher yellow flesh.
Although a biannual plant, we harvest in the first year already because that's when the plant forms its tap root... the actual swede that we eat. In year two the plant will make a lot of leaf followed by an uninteresting flower.
Turnip swedes are fast growing and mostly pest and disease resistant. They can withstand a lot of cold and you can keep harvesting them until deep into autumn.
These swedes (Brassica rapa) belong in the family of Brassicaceae.
These turnips will certainly last up to a week in the fridge. They will also keep well on damp sand in a cool but frost-free shed for several months but they are of course best eaten fresh. Diced and blanched they will freeze well for future use too.
Delicious grated raw in a salad when still young. Those harvested later are best peeled and boiled, baked or stir-fried and don't forget you can add the leaves to your dishes too!
Your pet rabbit will thank you for any leaves you don't want.
Turnips (Brassica rapa) can always use a little extra fertiliser (some granulated cow manure) and, once well on their way, add some feed enriched with potassium. Turnips grow fast and need a good fertile soil that retains moisture so don't allow the soil around them to dry out - water regularly! Keep the bed free of weeds and they should thrive.
Turnip seedlings are not completely hardy but can withstand quite some cold.
May to June for the really early sown turnips.
September and November for later sown ones.
Turnips grow really fast and can in the right circumstances be harvested about 30 days after seeding. Always take the biggest ones first - this allows those smaller ones to continue developing.
Dig up (or just pull up) individually or flip a few at once with the back of a rake.
The earlier you sow, the earlier in the season you can harvest your turnips.