Growing Tips: Turnip

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. Germination: 5 to 10 days. Plant spacing in the garden, 3 to 4 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil but soil must be kept moist at all times until seedlings emerge.

When and where to plant:

Turnips are easy to grow and do well in any garden soil. Turnips grow rapidly and are of high quality when grown quickly during Alaska's long, cool summer days. Plant seed directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Choose a sunny location, cultivate soil, enrich with plant food, smooth the soil surface, plant seed not more than 1/8 inch deep and firm soil over seed. Keep soil surface moist until seedlings emerge. Plant the first crop as soon as the ground is prepared in the spring and a second crop the first of July for turnips over a long season. Good fertility and plenty of soil moisture is the key to great mild turnips.


Turnips MUST be protected from root maggots. Thin seedlings so the plants are 2 to 3 inches apart. Apply plant food before planting seed and water often for top quality.


Use the plants removed from thinning for great greens. Start harvesting roots when they approach 2 inches in diameter.