Turnip Greens

  • Sun: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Leaf Size: 8 to 12 inches
  • Days to Harvest: 30-40
  • Plant Size: 1 foot tall and wide

Cold-hardy turnips are even sweeter when touched by frost, so they can be one of your earliest spring crops. This popular purple top type has especially tender, tasty greens. Our seedlings are sold thickly seeded in pots specifically for harvesting greens, but turnips will form if you thin the plants as you harvest.

Plant in early spring for a spring harvest or late summer for a fall and winter crop. Turnip greens are ready to pick in as little as two weeks.

Plant Spacing: 6 inches apart. Plants Per Person: 6 for fresh and freezing.

Secrets to Success »

Grow in loose soil amended with compost, and you’ll eliminate the need for supplemental fertilizer. It’s true that turnips are a low-maintenance crop, but don’t neglect them so much that they dry out. Water deeply at roots and avoid wetting tops, which can cause leaf spot diseases.

Harvest and Use »

Turnip greens are most tender when harvested early. Take outer leaves first. Begin cutting them when they are big enough to suit you, but give them a little time to strengthen the plant, usually a couple of weeks. Cut the larger outer leave and leave the center ones to grow, or just cut all the tops and let it sprout new ones.

To get roots from our pot of thickly sown seedlings, you'll need to harvest by pulling whole plants, leaving room for roots to expand. To harvest turnip roots, pull them as soon as they are big enough to suit you, usually 1 to 3 inches in diameter.

Freeze turnip greens in freezer bags. Cooked greens are a Southern favorite. Use roots in soups along with the greens. Roots also make a surprisingly sweet and tasty roasted vegetable.

Try these garden companions »

  • Sweet peas, which can be trellised beside greens.
  • Mustard greens, to cook together with turnip greens.
  • Collard greens, which are both heat-tolerant and frost-hardy.
  • Onions, an ingredient you’ll find listed in many recipes using turnip greens.

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