When to Plant Turnips

Turnip seedlings

Turnips are grown in warm-winter regions in spring, fall, and winter. They are grown in cold-winter regions in spring and autumn.

Plant turnips in spring as soon as the soil is workable.

Good turnip quality depends on quick growth. Plant turnips in humus-rich, well-drained soil. The soil need not be prepared deeply, but the surface should be fine and smooth. Apply lime to strongly acid soils if a soil test shows the need.

When seedling in rows, cover the seeds lightly; when broadcasting, rake the seeds in lightly with a garden rake.

There are both white-fleshed and yellow-fleshed varieties of turnips. Purple Top White Globe is the most popular, white-fleshed variety. Golden Ball is the most popular, yellow-fleshed variety. For turnips greens, grow Seven Top.

Turnips reach harvestable size in 60 to 80 days. They are hardy to cold but susceptible to heat.

Young turnip plants grow plant harvest
Young turnip plants

Planting dates for spring and summer harvest

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 8Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 18Jan. 10-Mar. 1
Feb. 28Jan. 20-Mar. 1
Mar. 10Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Mar. 20Feb. 10-Mar. 10
Mar. 30Feb. 20-Mar. 20
Apr. 10Mar. 1-Apr. 1
Apr. 20Mar. 10-Apr. 1
Apr. 30Mar. 20-May 1
May 10Apr. 1-June 1
May 20Apr. 15-June 1
May 30May 1-June 15
June 10May 15-June 15
Turnips plant grow harvest
Turnips freshly harvested from the garden.

Turnip planting details

  • Sowing depth: ¼ inch (.6 cm)
  • Space between plant after thinning: 3-4 inches (7-12cm)
  • Days to sprout: 9
  • Days to harvest: 45-55
  • Storage period: 6-8 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: ½ ounce (14g)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 100 pounds (45 kilos)
  • Suggested Varieties: Purple Top White Globe (white flesh), Golden Ball (yellow flesh); Seven Top (turnip greens)
  • Notes: Best when harvested and used young.

Also of interest:

How to Grow Turnips

How to Harvest and Store Turnips.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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