Growing Turnips in Containers, Turnips Plant Care

Introduction to growing Turnips in containers

Turnip is a quick-growing root vegetable and it is an herbaceous biennial for seed production and an annual for use as a vegetable. Both roots and leaves of these plants are edible. Turnips are cruciferous vegetables rich in nutrients and also low in calories. This plant is grown in temperate climates worldwide for its bulbous, edible root, and the leaves are consumed. Small, tender, varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger plant varieties are grown as feed for livestock. The term Turnip is also used for the bulbous storage root. Turnips are versatile, nutritious, cool-season vegetables grown for their tender roots or leafy greens. Planting Turnips in containers offers several advantages, particularly for urban gardeners without sufficient sunny garden space. Turnips in containers are easy to care for, requiring little digging, bending, and stooping.

In this article we also discussed below topics;

  • Growing Turnips in garden
  • Indoor Turnip plant varieties
  • Growing Turnips from seed
  • How long do turnips take to grow
  • Type of soil is best for Turnips
  • Turnips indoor plant care
  • How to plant Turnips indoors

A step by step guide to growing Turnips in containers/pots

Turnip is grown for elongated roots as well as for its foliage. Fresh roots are consumed in salads and cooked as a vegetable or used in pickles. The Turnip greens are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and contain an appreciable amount of vitamin B, and also a good source of Ca, P, and Fe. The greens are fed to animals and seldom used as green vegetables. Turnips provide you with two vegetables in the same growing space above soil green leaves and below-soil tuberous bulbs to eat. This easy-to-grow vegetable is full of nutrients like vitamins A and C, the green leaves taste fabulous in salads or added to pasta dishes and Turnip bulb can be used in place of potatoes.

Best soil type for Turnips growing in containers

Turnips prefer a little acidic good fertility and well-drained soil, due to which it helps in root development and plant growth and protect its bulb from rotting. Its soil pH level of 6.0 to 6.5 is excellent. Turnip requires an area of full sun, where sunlight lightens for at least 6 to 8 hours each day.

Container choice for growing Turnips

Select a container for Turnip greens that is about 12 inches deep and large enough to hold approximately 1 gallon of soil for each plant. The container can be glazed ceramic, plastic or terra cotta, but it must have drainage holes or your greens will suffer root rot.

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The selection of the pot depends on the type of Turnip you are growing, as large Turnip varieties will need more space to grow. Use a pot that is at least 8 inches deep for planting regular Turnip, as it doesn’t be more than 3 to 4 inches in diameter. The pot for growing Turnip depends on the number of Turnips you want to grow, and whether they are large or small. You can use window boxes or use standard pots and maintain at least 4 inches of spacing. Considering this, 12 inches wide round pot can accommodate 3 Turnips, and up to 4 if you want to overfill it.

Turnips don’t respond well to transplanting, so directly transplant them to the desired container. If you’re growing a large root Turnip variety like Hinona kabu, go for 12 inches deep pot. On the contrary, if you want to harvest Turnip greens, a small about 6 inches depth planter is fine.

Container preparation for growing Turnips

Place a coffee filter in the bottom of the container to prevent soil from leaching out of the drainage holes during watering, and then fill with potting soil. The soil does not have to be specifically intended for vegetables or seed starting but should have a mix of organic matter such as compost and mineral matter like perlite to provide the plant nutrients and good drainage.

Turnip varieties for containers

Most Turnip varieties have 1 to 5 inches diameter. You can grow these Turnip varieties obtainable at garden centers or online;

  • Purple Top White Globe can be harvested in 45 to 65 days, as by this time, the Turnips will be mature, growing 3 inches in diameter.
  • Golden Ball Turnip has yellow skin and flesh with a sweet taste.
  • Tokyo Cross is an All American Selection Award Winner and it grows up to 4-6 inches diameter with smooth skin and mild crispy flesh and can be harvested anytime.
  • White Knight Turnip is a late producer with a flattened oblong shape and pure white root.
  • Scarlet Queen grows in scarlet with pure white flesh.
  • Market Express and Hakurei are ready to harvest in only 35 to 40 days after seeds germination and produce baby Turnips.
  • Alltop and Seven Top are grown for their tasty green tops.
  • Topper and Shoguin are mainly grown for their greens, though roots are also edible.
  • Gilfeather Turnip has cream-color flesh with white and green skin and mild flavor.

Turnip seed spacing or Turnip plant distance

Use row to row spacing of about 45 cm and plant to plant spacing of 7.5 cm. Sow seeds at depth of 1.5 cm and direct sowing on the bed, in lines or on a ridge.

How often should you water Turnips growing in containers

This Turnip plant is required to give water continuously. Turnip plant needs at least 1 inch of water every week. If your area is not raining enough, and then soak it well every week. In extremely dry areas, you should give water 2 to 3 times a week. If you notice limp or wilting leaves, the Turnip plant needs more water. Water containers whenever the top about 2 inches of soil feels dry. Never let the soil dry out or the Turnip greens will develop a bitter taste. When using porous terra cotta containers, the soil will dry out fast during dry and also windy weather, so check the soil daily. At least 1 inch of water per week is very important for good root development. Turnip plants need to grow quickly and regular water, along with rich soil, will help them do that. Turnips do not need much care, but consistent soil moisture is very important. Keep the soil lightly moist, watering at a rate of about 1 inch per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.

Process for growing Turnips in containers

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Growing Process of Turnips.
Growing Process of Turnips.
  • First fill a container with a lightweight commercial potting soil containing ingredients such as compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Use a container with a soil capacity of at least about 2 gallons and a depth of at least 12 inches. Be sure the planted container has a drainage hole in the bottom.
  • You can easily grow Turnips in containers and the small Turnips roots can be easily grown in at least 12 inches deep and wide containers. Then, fill one of your containers with a commercial potting mix, which combines elements such as high compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Take a pot of soil capacity of 2 gallons with a depth of at least about 12 inches. But check the suitable drainage in the container.
  • Mix a balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the potting mixture at Turnips planting time. Use a dry fertilizer, for example, 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 at a rate of 1/2-tablespoon of fertilizer for every 1 gallon of the potting mixture.
  • Plant Turnip seeds about 4 to 6 inches apart if you intend to use the Turnip roots. If you plan to use the greens, sprinkle seeds lightly on the soil at a rate of about 15 to 20 seeds in a container with a 12-inch diameter. Cover the Turnip seeds with 1/2-inch of the potting mixture.
  • Place the container in a sunny location and check the container daily, as vegetables grown in containers need water more frequently than vegetables are grown in the ground. Water Turnips whenever the top of the soil feels dry when you poke a finger into the top 1/2 to 1 inch. Water plants deeply until water begins to trickle through the drainage hole.
  • Thin the Turnip plants when the Turnip seedlings are 4 inches tall, allowing 2 to 4 inches of space between each plant. Fertilize the Turnip plants a second time about one month after planting, using a balanced, water-soluble vegetable fertilizer with a ratio such as 20-20-20.
  • Harvest Turnip greens as needed, beginning when the plants about 4 to 6 inches tall. Cut the greens and leave the root intact so the Turnip plant can continue to produce. Harvest Turnips when the roots about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Larger, more mature Turnips become tough and also woody.

The best fertilizer for growing Turnips in containers

  • Planting Turnips mix slow-release fertilizer in the potting soil. You can use one third part compost or aged manure in the soil, instead of the granular fertilizer.
  • Avoid adding too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer and always opt for a formula such as 10-10-10-if you cannot find that use general-purpose, liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20. Use a weak dose of water-soluble fertilizer to 2 to 3 weeks old Turnips, if they don’t do well.
  • If you haven’t used any fertilizer during the growing time, you can use about 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 water-soluble fertilizer, every 14 days.

Gardening tips for growing Turnips in containers

  • A Turnip plant is fairly easy to grow and requires loose, fertile soil rich in compost.
  • You can easily grow Turnips in containers and the small Turnips roots can be easily grown in at least 12 inches deep and wide containers.
  • Fill one of your containers with a commercial potting mix, which combines elements like high compost, vermiculite, and peat moss.
  • Keep the potted container checked regularly because the container drying faster than the ground and more water is needed.
  • Use a balanced vegetable fertilizer about 20-20-20 ratio, soluble in water; feed the plants for another time after about a month after planting.
  • When the roots are 2 to 3 inches in diameter, then you can harvest, do not let them more mature or otherwise become hard and woody.
  • Turnips generally need a full sun location but will tolerate partial shade, especially if you plan on harvesting the plant for its greens. Then, preparing the bed to grow Turnip plants is easy.
  • Growing Turnips must be done with seeds in the soil about 1/2 inches deep at a rate of three to 20 seeds per foot. Water immediately after planting to speed seed germination. Once you find Turnips growing, thin the plants to about 4 inches apart to give the plants plenty of room to form good roots.

Turnips plant care when growing in containers

Turnips get affected by aphids and flea beetles, though you can get rid of them by washing with a spray of water. Control aphids by pinching out infested foliage and hosing a large infestation off the Turnip plants. Keep weeds in the home garden down to control flea beetles.

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Turnip plants can be affected by white rust fungus which will cause small white cottony blisters on the upper surface of leaves and a yellow discoloration on the undersides. And control is not necessary.

Turnips harvesting

While growing Turnips in pots harvest the greens, as soon they grow about 4 to 6 inches tall, leaving the roots intact. It takes around 35 to 60 days for most Turnip varieties to mature. You can harvest the roots when they are about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Leaves are best harvested when they grow up to 10 to 12 inches in length.

Commonly asked questions about growing Turnips in containers

Can You Grow Turnips Indoors?

Yes, you can easily grow Turnips indoors and also enjoy them fresh year-round. Grow seeds in containers and place them by windows that receive 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight and you’re all set. Just be careful with the plant watering.

Can you grow a Turnip from a Turnip?

A Turnip plant is fairly easy to grow and requires loose, fertile soil rich in compost. Stored Turnips try to grow new leaves and roots over time, and these become bitter with a woody texture. Sprouting Turnips are not good to eat, but plant them in the garden to grow a crop of Turnip greens.

How long does it take to grow Turnips?

Depending on the climate and temperature it takes Turnips about 60 days to grow. You can pull them from the ground after 30 days but they will be very small about 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

How do you know when Turnips are ready to harvest?

Turnips are ready to harvest 40 to 55 days after planting. If harvesting the leaves, they are ready when they reach 4 to 6 inches in height. If only harvesting the plant leaves, cut them from the plant when they reach the desired size, leaving 1 inch of leaves above the crown of the plant. More plant leaves will grow in their place.

How often should you water Turnips?

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

How long does it take turnips to sprout?

Whether you grow turnips for the roots or the greens, germinating the turnip seeds is the first step. When done properly, the seedlings emerge within 4 to 7 days.

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