Do you know why in one famous fairy tale the grandfather planted not a carrot, not a beet, but a turnip? Maybe because turnip has been a staple food in Russia for several centuries in a row? Or is it because growing turnips is easy and fun? Or due to the fact that an unpretentious culture allows you to easily get a useful root crop for a healthy diet? Let's figure it out together.
About culture, origin, eating
Authoritative sources tell us that turnip (translated into Latin - Brassica rapa) is a plant of the Cabbage genus from the Cabbage or Cruciferous family with a one- or two-year growing cycle: in the first year - root crops, in the second summer - seeds from them.
The culture is very ancient, it has been known since the 4th century. It was cultivated by the Greeks, Egyptians, and later in Ancient Rome. In the XIV century, the turnip appeared in Russia, where for four hundred years it fed our ancestors until the overseas potatoes pushed it from the beds and from the tables.
The root vegetable is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals, is a valuable product for baby and dietary nutrition, has many useful properties, is used in pharmacology, folk medicine and cosmetology.
Turnips are eaten raw and processed. Fresh, it is used for juices and salads. During heat treatment, it is steamed, fried, boiled, stewed, pickled, stuffed. Soups, cereals, pancakes and desserts are made from root vegetables. Dishes made from it can be sweet, salty, pungent and neutral.
In cooking, turnip often replaces potatoes. Potatoes are very high in calories. A turnip is 90 percent water and contains only 0.1% fat. Therefore, those who follow the figure and are struggling with excess weight can safely eat it.
Root vegetables cooked in a slow cooker, oven, saucepan, pan can be enjoyed by everyone without restrictions. But a fresh turnip is contraindicated for nursing mothers, young children under 2 years old, as well as people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidneys, with food allergies.
When to plant turnips
It is necessary to plant turnips depending on the purpose of cultivation. For early fresh consumption, it can be sown before winter or for seedlings in February - March, or directly into the garden in April - May. For winter storage, sowing is carried out in late June - early July.
According to the lunar calendar, it is necessary to plant a turnip on the waning moon, when the growth energy passes into the root system and the juices move down to the root crops, adding vitality to them. Planting on new and full moons is not recommended.
There are a great many varieties of turnips. How do you know which variety of turnips is best? It all depends on the selection criteria and personal preference.
Turnip varieties are divided depending on:
- ripening time;
The table will help you choose the best variety for each, combining several necessary criteria.
Criteria Varieties Variety name
Small (60-150g) Snow White, Comet, Glasha, Petrovskaya-1 Medium (200-500g) Nurse, Luna, Pull-pull, Snow globe Large (up to 2 kg) White night, Milanese, Russian size
Appearance - color
Traditional: yellow or white Golden ball, Glasha, Snegurochka, Dunyasha, Petrovskaya-1 Unusual: red, black, pink, violet, green May yellow green-headed, Gribovskaya, Burnt sugar, Red Sun F1, Milanese pink
Appearance - form
Traditional, rounded-flattened Glasha, Dunyasha, Petrovskaya-1, Gribovskaya, Children's dream Unusual: elongated or spherical Orbit, Comet, Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma
Spicy, bitter Nurse, GribovskayaSweetSnegurochka, Snow White, Dunyasha, Granddaughter
Early (40-60 days) Glasha, Golden ball, Snow Maiden, Milanese pink, Granddaughter, Medium (60-90 days) Dunyasha, Snow globe, Petrovskaya-1, Comet Late (90-120 days) Orbit
Middle lane Petrovskaya-1, Geisha, White night, Milanese pink Northern areas Burnt sugar, Gribovskaya local, Snegurochka, Karelian white meat, Snow globe
Traditionally, turnips are grown for the sake of root crops. But in modern breeding, new varieties of leafy and salad turnips are presented. In the first, only leaves are eaten, in the second, both leaves and small fruits.
For a good harvest, turnip seeds should be:
- Fresh. The best option is those that are collected next summer.
- No marriage and deformation. You can select quality seeds using calibration. To do this, you need to immerse them in salted water at room temperature. The defective and hollow ones will float, the good ones will sink to the bottom.
- Healthy, disease-free. You can save seed material from diseases by immersing it in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for 5-7 minutes.
After such preparation, turnip seeds should be left in water for swelling for 2-3 days, then slightly dried, mixed with river sand and sown in pots or on beds.
The first shoots under the film - when to open
Turnips should be planted in well-lit areas with neutral light clay soils. It is better to prepare the beds for sowing in the fall - dig deep, apply organic and mineral fertilizers. You cannot plant a turnip after other plants from the Cruciferous family (radish, horseradish, radish, all types of cabbage). In the spring, the soil is re-dug up, loosened with a rake and slightly compacted.
The seeding depth of seeds for spring and summer sowing is 1-2 cm, for podzimnim - 3-4 cm. The distance between the furrows for sowing is 20 cm. The sown seeds must be carefully planted in the ground, poured from a watering can with a shower head and covered with foil or non-woven material to accelerate germination. Covering material is removed immediately after the first shoots appear.
It is necessary to water the turnips often and abundantly, preventing the soil from drying out. With a lack of moisture, the turnip begins to taste bitter. Watering should be alternated with loosening. Dense packed soil causes deformation and reduction of fruits, deterioration of their taste. After the roots reach the size required for the variety, watering should be reduced so that they do not crack.
Weeding is carried out with each loosening. This helps to enrich the soil with oxygen, which is so necessary for young plants. At the very first loosening, it is useful to sprinkle the soil with wood ash or dry mustard. This will save the tender sprouts from the attack of the worst enemy - the cruciferous flea. Weeding must be combined with thinning. To provide each sprout with personal space for normal development, the distance between the bushes should be at least 12-15 cm in a row.
Ripening time, harvest
The ripening time of turnips depends on the variety. How much turnip ripens is written on a bag of seeds. For summer consumption, turnips are harvested when the roots reach 5–7 cm in diameter. The younger the turnip, the juicier and tastier it is. Harvesting time for winter storage is late September or early October. Do not leave ripe vegetables in the beds. This will impair their palatability and will not store well in winter.
Harvesting is best in dry, sunny weather. Having pulled the turnip out of the ground, you must immediately cut off the tops, leaving 2-3 cm. The roots are not trimmed. After that, the roots must be dried in the open air, but not in the sun or in the beds. After 5–7 days, the dry, undamaged turnip should be folded into boxes and sprinkled with sand. Vegetables are stored in a cool place at a temperature of 2-3 degrees Celsius.
Even novice gardeners can get an excellent harvest of turnips. Treat yourself and your loved ones with a healthy and tasty root vegetable grown on your land.