Turnips are a cool season root vegetable that grow best between 50–65°F. Higher temperatures may produce strong-flavored roots. The leaves are also edible and are referred to as "turnip greens".
When to plant
- Transplant: Feb–Apr (maybe May), Sept–Oct (maybe Aug)
- Direct seed: Mar–Apr (maybe May), Sept–Oct (maybe Aug)
- Turnips are typically harvested 2–3 months after planting. Some varieties grow faster while others hold well in the ground. Older turnips may bolt (send up a flower stalk), develop a woody core, and have a strong taste.
- Leaves may be harvested throughout the growing season, a few leaves per plant. Younger leaves will be more tender and milder in flavor.
- Thin seedlings to 4–6" apart when they are 2" tall.
- For a continuous harvest, plant in succession every 2 weeks.
- It is typical for turnips to expose their shoulders above ground level. It is not a problem.
- Turnips are frost hardy but extended temperatures below 30°F may cause damage.
Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*
Golden Globe, De Milan, Scarlet Queen, White Lady
* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.