Rutabaga

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 5- to 6-inch root
  • Days to Harvest: 80-100
  • Plant size: 1 foot tall and wide

You may know rutabaga as Swedish turnip, Russian turnip, winter turnip, or Swede. Rutabaga is not a turnip but actually a cross between turnip and cabbage grown for its yellow-flesh root. Often overlooked for other root vegetables, rutabaga’s sweet, mild flavor is a welcome surprise.

Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches apart. Plants Per Person: 4 to 5 for fresh; 8 for freezing.

Secrets to Success »

A cool-season crop, rutabaga is an excellent fall crop—frost makes the root even sweeter. Plant in loosened soil enriched with compost.

Harvest and Use »

Harvest as needed, pulling or carefully digging up the root. In warm areas, continue harvesting through winter. In cold zones, snip back leaves and cover with straw to prolong the harvest. Rutabaga is a great source of vitamins A and C. Roast it in a root vegetable medley including carrots, parsnips, potatoes, red onion, and turnips. You can also boil and mash rutabaga as you would potatoes.

Try these garden companions »

  • Nasturtiums, known to trap aphids, a common pest.
  • Turnip, red onion, carrot, parsnip, and potato for roasted veggies.
  • Savory herbs, including rosemary, thyme, sage, and sweet marjoram.

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