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When to Harvest Turnips?

If you came here in order to learn how to harvest turnips in animal crossing, this article is probably not for you. In this piece, we will focus on the real-life turnips, how to grow them, how to preserve turnips, how to store turnips, and to answer one of the most important questions – when to harvest turnips. 

The turnip is part of the Brassica rapa species, together with Napa cabbage, field mustard, bok choy, and several other root vegetables. Despite being mostly used for livestock feed, they have been one of the staples in the human diet for thousands of years as well. This comes as no surprise, having in mind that the turnip’s leaves and roots are a rich source of nutrition for both people and animals. 

An additional benefit of this vegetable is the time it takes from sowing to harvesting – unlike many other plants, the turnips need only two months to grow and be ready for harvesting and consumption. Plus, this plant won’t take much effort to plant and maintain, so if you are a beginner then you won’t have much trouble with this guide.

How to Grow Turnips

As we have mentioned above, turnips take only two months to grow, making them suitable to be grown and harvested several times in a season. The best temperature for growing turnips is around 15 degrees Celsius, or 60 degrees Fahrenheit – this makes fall and spring the most suitable periods in the year for growing turnips. Fall turnips are usually much sweeter than spring turnips, and they are also less prone to attract maggots.

Farmers usually spread the turnip seeds in early spring and early fall (in fall, they calculate the seeding to be around two months before the frosts start appearing). Seeds should be buried at around 1-2 cm depth (½ inch). Before you start with the seeding, make sure that the soil is dry. 

Turnips are rather big fans of the sunlight, however, they are also pretty resilient – so living in a partial shadow will do them no harm. However, make sure they have at least some source of light during the day. The area that you will want to plant should at least receive 6 hours of sunlight, or perhaps even a little more.

The ideal spot you have chosen should have naturally loose, well-draining soil. If you don’t have that kind of quality of soil, you can improve the soil conditions yourself. You can do this by tilling the soil until it becomes soft to a depth of 12-15 inches, and make sure that you remove any rocks in the way. Keep in mind the ideal pH level to plant your turnips into the soil is 6.5. 

They also do not require any special fertilizers, and they grow at a steady pace with at least an inch of water every week. However, if you want to add some fertilizers, you can do so. Though fertilizers are not necessary, the right fertilizer for your turnip will help strengthen its roots. Choose a fertilizer that is rich in potassium and phosphorus and apply them mildly every month. Nitrogen fertilizers are not recommended since they will make your turnips bushy, but roots will suffer instead.

Scatter the seeds across the soil that you have tilted. Make sure that they are scattered as evenly as possible. If you are planting spring turnips, then cover them with ¼ inch of soil. On the other hand, fall turnips needed to be covered with ½ inch of soil. Note that germinations usually takes 7-14 days. After you have planted the seeds, make sure they are watered evenly and only enough to keep the soil moist. Watering too much might cause the seeds to rot instead.

When your turnips reach the height of 5 inches, add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the turnip. Mulch helps hold moisture evenly, and additionally, it also prevents weeds from growing around the plant.  If any weeds passed through the mulch, simply pull them out using your hands. Avoid using herbicides to kill weeds as those could damage the turnips also.

With these little requirements and large benefits, it is no wonder why they can be found so often in people’s gardens. 

When to Harvest Turnips 

How do you know when to pick turnips? When it comes to when to harvest turnip greens, as soon as they reach 10 cm, or 4 inches in height, the greens of the turnip are ready to be harvested. This should be around 30-60 days after the planting occurred, and it depends on the weather, the moisture, and the other conditions surrounding the soil. 

There are various types of turnips – there are varieties that are growing faster and can be harvested in around 4 to 5 weeks, while some take longer, and are ready for harvest in up to 10 weeks. 

If it’s the greens you need, make sure you do not damage the bulb – if the bulb remains unscathed, new greens will grow pretty soon. 

The bulbs are ready for harvesting when their diameter is around 2-3 inches (5-7 cm). This way, they are retaining their taste. If you leave them longer, they might get a rougher texture and lose their taste. 

The turnips that were planted in the fall will not grow actively after they’re mature. This means you can harvest them during the winter. Just make sure to add one mulch layer, in order to prevent them from freezing. If you like your turnips sweeter, this method will also increase the sweetness in their flavor. 

How to Harvest Turnips

If you’re harvesting the smaller bulbs, it is enough to just gently pull them, and they will come out. If however, you’re harvesting the bigger, more mature bulbs, you might have to dig a bit around the bulb. You can harvest turnips of any size. Small turnips are much sweeter than large ones, so people generally harvest turnips once the bulb diameter is somewhere between 1 and 3 inches. However, allowing the turnips to grow too large will cause it to overripe and have a woody taste instead.

The greens of the plant are ready for harvest as soon as it reaches the height 4-6 inches. As long as you don’t cut away the nodes, the greens should be able to regrow after harvesting.

Harvesting turnips is a rather simple task. 

How to Preserve and Store Turnips 

The beauty of turnips is the versatility of their uses. Even though they are mainly used in animal feeding, you can still enjoy turnips in a variety of dishes. 

Both younger and more mature turnips can be eaten raw. They can be simply added to salads. The green parts can also be used in a salad, and they are the ones that yellow and rot fast, so you better use them fast. 

The more mature turnips can be used in soups, stews, and other dishes. They can also be roasted, together with other vegetables, and they have a fantastic taste. 

How to store turnips? Simply remove the excess dirt and the leaves, and place them in a dark and cool place, such as the refrigerator. This way, they can be stored for months and you can always have a fresh batch for your next dish. You can store the whole bulbs, or you can cut them in pieces and store them in this form. 

The turnip greens will go bad within several days in the refrigerator – so make sure you use them in the first 3-4 days. However, if you want to preserve them for longer, you can always put them in the freezer. 


Turnips have many benefits: they are highly nutritious, they can be used both for human meals and animal meals, they are rather easy for upkeep and harvesting, and they can be preserved for a long time at lower temperatures. 

Another benefit is that they are a highly versatile ingredient when it comes to cooking: they can be part of a salad (both the greens and the bulbs), they can be mixed into soups and stews (as chopped pieces, or mashed), and they are also an awesome choice for a barbecue! The choice of turnip recipes is endless! 

Perhaps the greatest thing about turnips is how fast they grow – from the moment of planting to the moment of harvesting, enabling you to have several harvests throughout the year. And having in mind that they are not too requiring vegetables, this is more than a great deal. Make sure you have a checklist of their needs, though – just so you can always be sure that despite that they have a few needs, they are always met. 

We hope that this article is a great motivator to start planting turnips in your garden as soon as possible. Now that we have discussed this topic, do you have any more thoughts, questions, or tips you want to share? Feel free to write those below. We also offer some guides as well such as 

When to Harvest Tomatillos and How To Prune Basil

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