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RUTABAGA (Brassica Napus)

Requires six hours or more of strong, direct sun per day. Full Sun
Requires six hours or more
of strong, direct sun per day.


The rutabaga is an excellent nutritious late-season root crop that can easily be stored in pits or in moist sand in the cellar for three to four months.

Rutabagas are sometimes called winter, yellow or Swedish turnips, but they are bigger and hardier than the common turnip, and they take longer to mature. They are best planted July 15 or later, in a moist, rich soil. Although they can be harvested after a frost, they must not freeze or their keeping quality will be impaired.

Planting Rutabaga

Sow the seed in drills. One ounce is sufficient for 400 feet of drill. Space the plants 12 inches apart. Rutabagas are good winter stock feed, and seed is often sown a month earlier in order to make big roots for this use.
moonGROW Advice
Rutabagas should be planted when the moon is in the 3rd Quarter (i.e. waning) for the best crop and in one of the following Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus

Use two pounds of seed per acre drilled or five pounds broadcast. To grow rutabagas for seed, apply a heavy mulch to the patch. Uncover the plant early in spring and tie the seed stalk to a stick. Break off the mature seed stalk and store it in a dry place. Seed, which are viable for four years, can be removed when dry.

Gardener's Tip:
Plant rutabaga in late spring or early summer 90 days before your intended harvest. Cut tops after two good frosts for best flavor and keeping qualities.

Varieties of Rutabaga

The best yellow varieties are Laurentian, Western Perfection, Superba, Improved Long Island, and American Purple Top Yellow. There are also several fine new white Macombers with especially sweet flesh. Macombers can be planted several weeks earlier than yellow rutabagas without developing tough flesh.

See also TURNIP.

Spring Gardening
Copyright© 2016 Gene DeFazzio
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