Growing Turnips In Pots is the best way to enjoy them fresh! Learn all about this fast-growing crunchy root vegetable that you can grow easily in pots!
Turnip is a nutritious, cool-season root vegetable, famous for both its leafy greens and flavored roots. Planting turnip is an easy task and many urban gardeners prefer it as they can grow it easily in pots. Here’s everything on Growing Turnips In Pots!
Scientific Name: Brassica rapa subsp. rapa
Plant Type: Root Vegetable
Check out our article on Growing Radishes here!
Best Planting Time for Turnips
Start your turnip seeds in spring when the temperature is above 40 F (5C) and the weather starts to warm up. Plant them indoors in early spring, if the weather is cold outdoors. Keep planting seeds successively till late spring or early summer for a regular harvest. You can start planting turnip seeds again in late summer or early fall (autumn) for fall and early winter harvest.
For hot, frost-free climates, you can grow turnips in containers from late fall or early winter and continue planting successively throughout the winter.
You can also grow turnips in pots, during summer too if you don’t live in a hot subtropical or tropical climate and have cool summers.
Choosing a Container
The selection of the pot mainly 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 3-4 inches in diameter.
How wide should be 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, a 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 variety like Hinona kabu, go for 12 inches deep pot. On the contrary, if you want to harvest turnip greens, a small 6 inches depth planter is fine.
Turnip Varieties for Containers
Most turnip varieties have 1-5 inches diameter. You can grow these turnip varieties available at garden centers or online:
- Purple Top White Globe can be harvested in 45-65 days, as by this time, the turnips will be mature, growing three inches in diameter.
- Tokyo Cross is an All American Selection Award Winner. It grows up to 4-6 inches diameter with smooth skin and mild crispy flesh and can be harvested anytime.
- White Knight 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 35-40 days after seeds germination and produce baby turnips.
- Alltop and Seven Top are grown for their tasty green tops.
- Topper and Shoguin are primarily grown for their greens, though roots are also edible.
- Golden Ball has yellow skin and flesh with a sweet taste.
- Gilfeather has cream-color flesh with white and green skin and mild flavor.
How to Grow Turnips in Containers
Get the turnip seeds from the local garden store or online. Ensure they’re not expired! Sow them 1/2 inch deep soil, 2-3 inches apart, directly in the desired container. Once the seedlings appear and grow a bit, thin out the weak ones to maintain the required spacing.
Note: If you are growing turnips just for the greens, you can sow seeds closely per container.
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Requirements for Growing Turnips in Pots
Grow turnips in a sunny position that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. You can also grow them in partial sunlight (at least 4-5 hours) as well but this will reduce productivity.
Use rich, well-drained and permeable soil for growing turnips. To ensure the root growth is unobstructed, use a good quality potting mix, or make your own that’s more loamy than clayey and have no stones. You can also add compost or well-rotted manure while planting turnips. You can also add organic materials like peat moss, compost, aged manure, or coconut coir. Using perlite or vermiculite is also an option.
While growing turnips in pots, always keep the soil evenly moist and water them regularly. Water deeply and ensure the pots are never drying out completely, especially in the first few weeks. Also, avoid overwatering the plants as it can lead to cracking of the roots.
Turnip is a cool-season crop that grows best in short days. A minimum temperature of 40 F (5 C) and a maximum of 90 F (32 C) works best for them. For optimum seed germination, keep them around 55-85 F (13-30 C). Below or above this, seeds germinate slowly.
Thining & Spacing
Thining must be done when the young turnips grow a few inches tall while maintaining the space of 4-5 inches. For growing, leafy greens, space them up to 2-3 inches.
Turnips Care in Pots
- While planting turnips mix slow-release fertilizer in the potting soil. You can also 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 like 5-10-10-if you cannot find that use general-purpose, liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20.
- Use a weak dose of water-soluble fertilizer to 2-3 weeks old turnips, if they don’t do well.
- If you haven’t used any fertilizer during the growing time, you can use 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 water-soluble fertilizer, every 14 days.
Pest and diseases
Turnips may get affected by aphids and flea beetles, though you can get rid of them by washing with a spray of water.
To know more about controlling aphids naturally, click here!
While growing turnips in pots harvest the greens, as soon they grow 4 to 6 inches tall, leaving the roots intact. It takes around 35-60 days for most turnip varieties to mature. You can harvest the roots when they are about 2-3 inches in diameter. Leaves are best harvested when they grow up to 10-12 inches in length.
Note: It’s better to harvest turnip roots early as they turn woody and loose tenderness with time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Many Turnips to Plant for Sufficient Yield?
That entirely depends on your needs and requirements. Growing 7-10 turnips a month per person, will be more than enough. You’ll need a single, 16 inches long and 8 inches wide window box for that.
2. Can You Grow Turnips Indoors?
Yes, you can easily grow turnips indoors and enjoy them fresh year-round! Grow seeds in containers and place them by windows that receive 5-6 hours of direct sunlight and you’re all set. Just be careful with the watering.