By Jannie Vaught
Fall is here and for this gardener “Most” of the planting is done. As I was reviewing the plan, I realized I’d forgotten the one staple we depend on the Turnip! Thankfully I still have room to plant a substantial amount. Let’s have a look at the Turnip. Turnip is also known as a white turnip. Family: Brassicaceae (mustard family) Genus: Brassica. Is a root vegetable grown in temperate climates around the world known for its white flesh tap root. Often associated with beets and potatoes but their closest relative is radish and arugula. These are cool and cold weather vegetables. There are many varieties to choose from the pink top is most common but they do come fully white, and some even come with more green tops for those of us who love turnip greens.
Sow in autumn for a late autumn crop well into winter. Follow directions on the seed package, they like sandy soil so they can grow large, don’t overcrowd them, or make sure to thin and use in the kitchen. When the tops are ready trim a few from the outer sides and leave the inner column for photosynthesizing. They will need some sun for growth, when they are large and the temperatures get cold it’s time to bank up the soil around them and place a deep layer of leaves or straw over them for freeze protection just like carrots and other roots vegetables such as Large white radish. The difference between a turnip and rutabaga is the turnip has white flesh and a pink top where the rutabaga has yellowish flesh and a purple-tinged with yellow skin. They are larger and sweeter. The rutabaga has gone out of popular planting but I highly recommend that a row of both be part of this Fall garden.
There are many “How to Cook” sights and many home style recipes, but a fellow gardener Ms. Betty shared that her grandmother would sprinkle just a little sugar on boiled turnips with some butter would take that sharp bite away and she is correct. Today is a good day to plant some turnips.
Growing Green With Jannie