Turnip greens are my favorite kind of greens, but don’t get me wrong I love them all. The wonderful thing about turnips is you get the best of both worlds – a tasty and flavorful root, and the delicious green tops. Growing turnip greens is not very hard as long as you give them the correct amount of water, and provide nutrient-rich soil. Here is how I plant my turnips.
Get The Turnip Bed Ready
I am planting my turnips in a raised bed that measures 4′ wide by 4′ long and 2′ feet deep. Your bed does not need to be quite this deep – 18 inches should do fine. This raised bed was actually going to be a compost bin, but I changed my mind and decided to use it to grow some root crops in.
First I loosened the soil using a hand shovel, then lightly graded it back out until it was somewhat level.
Here are the turnip seeds I will be planting. This variety of turnips is called 'Purple Top White Globe'. They are fairly common, and can be found at amazon.com.
These turnip seeds need to be planted at a depth of 1/2-inch deep. I use my finger to poke holes in the soil that are about 1/2-inch deep. I am planting the turnips about 10 inches apart, which enables me to plant 20 turnip plants in this box with those measurements.
Sowing The Turnip Seeds
With all the holes established, it is time to sow the seeds. Turnip seeds are very tiny, about the size of a grain of sand. The itty-bitty seeds can make it somewhat cumbersome to handle. There are some tricks you can use to simplify sowing these seeds, such as using seed tapes, or a small seed sower. I will be attempting to sow these seeds by hand. It will be interesting, that's for sure.
Grab two or three (or seven) seeds between your thumb and index finger. Roll the seeds into the appropriate hole. Repeat this until you have sowed the seeds in each hole. You can also use a pinch of sand with each hole to help properly distribute the seeds.
Give The Seeds Some Cover and Mark Them
Once you have dispersed all the seeds in the holes, it is time to cover them with soil. I like to cover the seed hole with soil, then place a toothpick beside each hole. I do this so I can tell where I planted the seeds later on. This way I can see what is sprouting, and what isn’t, plus I will quickly know if it is a weed or a seedling.
Give The Seeds A Good Drink
Now the seeds are sowed, covered, and marked. The next step is to give them a good drink of water. The soil needs to remain moist until the seeds have germinated, and the plants become established. This might mean that you need to water a couple times a day, especially during very warm weather. I use a mixture of fish emulsion and water in my trusty hose-end sprayer to water the seeds.
It’s Just A Matter Of Time Now
Once the bed is thoroughly watered, it is a good time to kick back and wait for the seedlings to emerge, which should take seven to ten days. Once the seedlings have reached about two or three inches tall, they need to be thinned out so the turnips have plenty of room to grow. After the seedlings have emerged, go back and resow any spots that may not have germinated.