How to Grow Rutabaga

by on February 11, 2013


It is known as the Russian, Swedish and Canadian Turnip and other names, but no matter what you call it, the rutabaga is one root vegetable that deserves to be in your urban garden and on your dinner plate. As the nicknames imply, the rutabaga is a relative of the delicious turnip. Interestingly enough, the rutabaga was the result of a natural crossing between the cabbage and the turnip!
Temp Range: 45 – 55 degrees F
Transplant to Plate: 90 days
Light Needs: min. 4-6 hours of full sun, partial shade per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 4+ plants / person
Average Space Needs: 4 plants / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: slightly acid, 5.5 – 7.0

if you want to grow rutabaga at home, the first factor to know is that they like it cool. They are easy to grow if you are able to plant them and see them through to maturity while the temperatures are mild. For a healthy fall crop, you need only wait until summer nighttime temperatures drop to the mid-fifties before you transplant the rutabaga outdoors.

Spring rutabaga crops are also possible if you have no less than 90 days of cool weather. If your rutabagas are exposed to weather that is too warm, they will not be nearly as sweet as they could be.

As with any root vegetable crop, your soil should be well worked and free of any debris like rocks or lumps of clay. It is important to keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.

You will be able to harvest your rutabaga when the roots reach a diameter of between 3 and 5 inches, roughly the size of a grapefruit.

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