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Veseys Home » Growing Vegetables »  Rutabaga/Turnip

Brassica napus/Brassica rapa

“Rutabaga”, also called “swede” or “winter turnip”, is globe shaped with yellow flesh and maroon coloured skin. Commonly grown for winter storage. “Summer Turnip”, is flatter in shape, and the flesh is usually white and roots are harvested during the summer.


Sow thinly ¼-¼2" deep. Space young plants to 4-6" apart in rows 24-30" apart. Sow seed as early as the soil can be worked to mature crop for early market. For the main storage crop, plant in late June or early July, so that roots can develop in the cooler weather. Late plantings are less susceptible to root maggot damage. For an extra early crop, start indoors in April for transplanting in May.


Full sun with a soil pH of 6.5. Moderate feeders; require a deep, loose cultivated soil with medium water retention. Apply generously, compost and well rotted manure prior to planting. Benefits from regular feedings with a compost tea or fertilizer with higher amounts of phosphorous and potassium for good root development. Boron is a key trace element for the prevention of Brown Heart (water core). (Boron may also be applied separately as a spray 4-6 weeks after planting).


Turnips (summer): when they reach 3" in diameter. Rutabagas (winter): when roots are 4" in diameter up until they are 5-6". You can leave your rutabagas in the ground until just before it freezes. Sweet flavour of rutabagas is enhanced by light frosts.

Pests & Diseases:

Clubroot can develop where turnips or cole crops have been frequently grown and will remain in the soil for 7 or more years. Clubroot thrives in acidic soil, keep the soil pH above 6.0. Practice good crop rotation. Root maggots can be avoided early in the season by covering plants with row covers.


Onion family, pea.