Turnip (Purple Top)/research

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Planting Season[edit]

Turnips are grown during the cool seasons of the year (spring and fall). Growth in the summer heat is avoided as much as possible.

Spring Harvest[edit]

For a late-spring harvest, turnips are planted 2-4 weeks before the last frost.[1][2]

The planting period is short, since the goal is to harvest before the summer heat hits. One source suggests that the spring crop should not be planted after May.[3]

Fall Harvest[edit]

The fall crop (for human consumption) should be planted from late summer to early fall.[1][4][2] The goal is to avoid the summer heat, and harvest after a light frost, which makes the turnips taste sweeter.

Forage Crop[edit]

For animal forage, turnips are often planted in mid-late summer and grown for a longer period of time. They are left in the ground into the winter. Since they are a sturdy plant, they do not die even when covered by snow. Livestock can graze directly on the turnips through the fall and winter.[4]

Soil Requirements[edit]



Type Amount N-P-K Per Area Comments Source
General 3 lbs 10-10-10 100 sq. feet n/a [1]
General 2 lbs 5-10-10 100 sq. ft 1 wk before planting [2]
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


Type N P K Comments Units Source
General 50 50 100 Sidedress 25-30N Total lbs/acre [3] (*)
General 40-60 40-60 60-100 n/a Total lbs/acre [4]
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

(*): Indicates that the value was optimized for the NUF Garden's Soil Test.


Type Seed Weight Germination Time Time to Maturity Source
Purple Top 13,500 seeds/oz n/a 45-65 days [5]
General n/a 5-10 days 37-70 days [6]
Purple Top 7000 seeds/oz 7-10 days 55 days [7]
General 10,000/oz n/a n/a [8]
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


Type Purpose Depth Trench Spacing Seeding Spacing Thinning Seed Rate Source
General Garden 1/2" 12-24" 1" 4-6" or 2-3" (greens) n/a [9]
General Garden 1/2" 12" Scatter 4-6" or 2-3" (greens) n/a [10]
Purple Top Garden 1/4-1/2" 24" 2" 4-6" n/a [11]
General Garden 1/4-1/2" 18-24" 1-2" 6" n/a [12]
Purple Top Commercial (General) 1/4" n/a n/a n/a 10 lbs/acre [13]
General Commercial (General) 1/2" n/a n/a n/a 1.5-2 lbs/acre [14]
Purple Top Garden 1/2" 18-30" n/a 2-3" n/a [15]
General Garden 1/2-1" 12-18" 2-4" n/a 275k seeds/acre [16]
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


Turnips do not need much care but consistent soil moisture is important. Keep soil lightly moist, watering at a rate of 1 inch per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.[1]


Type Purpose Time Point Roots Greens Total Area Source
Purple Top Garden 55 days n/a n/a 50-100 lbs 100 ft row (2-3" spacing) [17]
General Commercial 40-75 days n/a n/a 300 cwt per acre [18]
General Garden 40-75 days n/a n/a 100 lbs 100 sq. ft (3-4" x 12-15") [19]
General Garden n/a 50 lbs 100 lbs 150 lbs 100 ft row (2-4" spacing) [20]
General Commercial 45-50 days n/a 500-1000 bushels (22-25 lbs/bushel) n/a per acre [21]
n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Farmer's Almanac: Growing Turnips
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bonnie Plants: Growing Turnip Greens
  3. Seedland: Purple Top Turnip (White Globe) Seed
  4. 4.0 4.1 Johnny's Selected Seeds: Purple Top Forage Turnips