Do turnips have seeds or do they grow from newly bought seeds from a store is a question that many gardeners ask without a proper answer.
Turnips are cool weather vegetables that are grown in fall and spring. Unlike most vegetables that thrive in the summer months, turnips thrive in the winter. They mature fast and you can enjoy both the roots and the greens.
Turnips are hardy biennials but grown as annuals. They are best enjoyed as an autumn crop that is seeded in late summer. They are more tender and sweeter in autumn than in spring and pests attack less in this season.
Turnips germinate only a few days after planting. Within a month you can enjoy their bright greens. Within the second month, you can eat the roots. They are best eaten as a substitute for potatoes.
Do Turnips Have Seeds?
You can buy turnip seeds at the seeds store near you. Turnip seeds are surprisingly small, with nearly 200,000 seeds per pound. A very small packet of turnip provides a lot of turnip plants.
Besides buying turnip seeds, you can also save seeds from heirloom turnip variety. His variety is open-pollinated and allows you to save seeds each year you grow them. You will get quality seeds if you don’t grow different varieties of turnips close to each other. Even if they grow pretty close, let them not flower at the same time. This way the heirloom varieties are not mixed with others.
Turnips are planted as one-shot annuals but they are biennials. In the first season, they grow leaves and store up nutrients in the thickened roots. And in the second year, they sprout tall species of yellow flowers with pea-like pods of seeds. A few varieties like Shogoin will flower and make seed at the end of the first year. Most turnips will go through a dormant season.
In mild winter areas, you can mulch the roots can and leave them in place. The turnips will flower early spring and produce seeds. But in very cold areas, the gardeners harvest mature roots before they freeze and cut off the leaves leaving only a few inches of the leaf stem. The turnips roots harvested in this season are stored unwashed, in a dark, cool, and humid place during winter. As spring is welcomed, the roots are set back into the ground and quickly sprout beginning to flower to make seeds.
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Harvesting Turnip Seeds
Once the plant’s flowers wait until the seed pods turn brown and dry. Shake them into a paper bag where they continue to dry before shattering. Once dry, clean them through a kitchen sieve blowing the chaff away. Store your clean seeds in a cool, dry place for up to 5 years. Be sure to replenish your heirloom turnip seed supply every 2-3 years.
Saving and sowing tiny turnip seeds is fun, easy, and helps you grow heirloom varieties year after year.
How to Plant Turnip Seeds
Turnip seeds are planted directly into the garden. They do not transplant well. Sow them onto fertile well-drained soil for better produce and do not cover the seeds with more than ½ an inch of soil. Turnip seeds sprout within 1 week. They need temperatures ranging from 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If planted in cooler soils under 40 degrees, they take longer to sprout. Keep the soil well moist to help the plants grow fast. Turnips will be ready to harvest 40-60 days after planting.
Once the turnip seedlings are 4 inches high, thin them to about 4-6 inches apart. Space the rows to be at least 12 inches apart. Turnips grown for greens don’t have to be thinned.
Turnips grow best in cool weather. Hot weather causes the roots to become bad tasting and woody. They are best planted in March, April, or May but that depends on the freeze predictions.
How to Harvest Turnips
You may harvest turnip greens 4-5 weeks after planting when they are young and tender. The main crop takes 6-10 weeks but waiting this long to eat the greens destroys them.
Harvest turnips at any size you want. Young turnips are nicer and tender than overgrown ones. For fall turnips harvest them right after a light frost. For a sweeter taste do not allow them to get a hard freeze.
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Storing Your Harvested Turnips
You can store your turnips after harvest for 3-4 months. Store them in a cool, dark, and humid place like a root cellar or a vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.
If you chose to store them in a refrigerator, keep turnips in a perforated plastic bag. Don’t allow your turnips to dry out or get moldy due to too much moisture.