Now popular in many parts of the world, this heirloom was first introduced in Virginia USA during the early 1800s and quickly became popular in the eastern Atlantic region and in the southern States. Unlike other turnips, Seven Top doesn’t grow an edible bulb, so its energy is focused on producing high quality leafy greens.
This hardy plant is cultivated for its delicious greens, high in calcium and vitamins. They are tasty as baby greens but are usually harvested when their dark green leaves are at full maturity at about 24 inches long. Seven Top are said to be the tastiest of all turnip greens. The use of turnip tops for salads greens dates back to ancient Greece and has remained popular in many cuisines since then. Excellent fresh in salads, sautéed in olive oil or simply steamed.
- Latin Name: Brassica rapa
- Life Cycle: Biennial, usually grown as an annual
- Days to Maturity: 30-60
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 8-9
- Planting Depth: 5 mm - 1 cm
- Plant Spacing: 7-15 cm
- Row Spacing: 30-45 cm
Turnips are a reliable, sturdy and starchy root crop. Like rutabaga, the edible greens and roots of turnips are versatile and healthful. Turnips have the advantage of maturing about four weeks ahead of rutabaga.
Before planting, prepare a bed mixed with compost, the soil should be light and well-drained. Choose a site that is in full sun. Direct sow in late-spring/early summer. A fall crop is much preferred to spring growing. Pests are less of a problem and roots will taste sweeter from being exposed to some light fall frosts. The warm soil will speed up germination and the turnip will be ready for harvest before heavy frosts set in.
Plant seeds 5 cm apart, about 1 cm deep. Keep rows spaced 35-45 cm. Thin sprouts to 20 cm apart as soon as possible. Don’t let the roots become overcrowded. Mulch and apply fertilizer after the plants have been thinned and weeded. Turnips should get 2-4 cm of water/week. Receiving enough water will be crucial when the roots start to size up.
The roots will be most tender at 5-8 cm in diameter, they will taste the best at 10-12 cm wide. The greens can be eaten, preferably when young, tender and full of nutrition. Roots can be harvested anywhere from 5-10 weeks. Turnips can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They will last longer in root cellar-like conditions around 2°C, for up to 3-4 months.
Enjoy turnips as you would a carrot or potato. They have a variety of practical uses, try the tender roots chopped into a salad or in a pot of soup. Otherwise, steamed, roasted or mashed, turnips make a satisfying side dish for any meal.
- Turnips were first cultivated in northern Europe, and they were an important food during Roman times. The turnip eventually spread east to China and reached Japan by 700 AD.
- Turnips are a biennial plant, taking two years from germination to reproduction. The roots spend the first year growing and storing nutrients and the second year flowering and producing seeds.
- Turnip seeds will remain viable for 4 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!