Rutabegas and Turnips

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)October 1, 2013

Couple of questions on these two crops.

Turnips, we have been growing Haikuri Turnips and selling them 6 or 7 a bunch for $2.00.

We have some Haikuri, but people have been asking about Purple top turnips. We planted Purple Crown and some of the biggest ones are close to ready. We ate 4 last night that weighted 1.5 pounds total. What prices have you been getting. I am planning on selling them by the pound without greens. The greens were damaged pretty bad by caterpillars. I was thinking about $1 a pound

Rutabegas
A new crop to me. I planted them at the same time as the turnips, but they aren't even bulbing up. They were planted in early August. Will they keep growing as the temps get colder and frosts come? I was hoping to get them for our winter markets in November and December. The leaves were damaged from caterpillars, but the new leaves are fine.

The caterpillars were so bad this fall that the farmer around us had his soybeans aerial sprayed. I tried to Bt spray everything several times,it helped but there were just so many of them!

Jay

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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I was also planning on putting these crops under low tunnels to extend the season, if possible.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 4:30PM
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kelise_m

I sell regular bunching turnips for the same price as bunching beets. For topless beets I'm getting $1.99/lb. I always say in my sign what day they were dug, I think people assume topless root vegetable are old and left over from another market.

Western Oregon has a more mild climate, we have regular light frosts in mid winter but deep freezes are more rare. My rutabagas will continue to size up (assuming no super hard freeze) all winter becoming volleyball size by spring. That's with no cover or mulch. I wouldn't give up on yours yet, you may have a great winter market crop

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 4:56PM
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myfamilysfarm

Rutabagas are longer growing than turnips, they should have been planted much earlier, more late spring. Turnips are a faster growing bulb. They look very similar, but the rutabagas are more yellow versus white. Many people will want the turnips and rutabagas for winter storage. I sold mine without tops, and if I remember right, I got either 75 cents or $1 per pound.

The ones in the store have wax poured over them to keep them longer.

As long as you have a couple of leaves, they should do fine.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 8:16PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I know of another vendor(lived 20 miles south of me) who use to sell Rutabegas and I thought he said he planted them at the end of July, so I was just aiming for that date. It would have been around that time, but the ground was too wet as that was the flooding season this year.

Note to self, plant the Rutabegas earlier! Thanks for the information.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:07PM
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henhousefarms

I'm afraid I can not help you with rutabagas (although I had a 7th grade English teacher that referred to us a rutabaga when we made a less than accurate answer but then English teachers are somewhat eccentric hehe). Turnips, on the other hand, sell pretty good for us. We are selling topped at $1/lb and moving about 1.5 to 2 bu/week. We plant Purple Top White Globe IIRC. Nice thing about them is they are quick and very low maintenance. We run them through the apple washer and they really shine. We tried some Haikuris last year but the results were mixed. We liked them but people did not know what to do with them (although any turnip is a pretty hard sale to anyone under 50).

Tom

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Jay, what spacing are your Rutabagas at? Mine are 3 row beds (36") spaced at 5" in row. If yours are crowded they may not size up well.
My Rutabagas went in the first week of July and they are close to baseball sized now. I won't start selling them for a few more weeks until it gets colder, then keep selling all winter (like Kelise does). It's hard to get a good price for them if they get larger than softballs. I dropped it from $1.25/lb. down to .50/lb last year for the giant ones.
I also keep row cover on them all season to protect from cabbage moth as well as root maggot.

Purple top turnips I stopped growing a while ago due to few sales. Most people love the Tokyo turnips (they're trending now) but not the purple top.

-Mark

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:08PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I seed my fall ruties on the Fourth of July or so. This year I over seeded because I didn't trust my seeder with brassicas. I thinned once and have to do again. I also don't think I will have them size up again. Some years I have had tons after frost. I seed turnips one month later or so. Also both first week of April.
I sell all turnips bunched even if the greens need to be trimmed. Otherwise everyone asks which they are. Ruties I sell bunched in twos but with leaves cut off. I think $3 is fair but end up going with $2. I sell red turnips too but they confuse everyone. Better for the CSAs, since they are yummy but look like radishes or beets.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:22PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Also I don't see any reason to grow purple topped turnips. If people like turnips tell them the white ones are even better and can be used in even more ways. If they don't like turnips ask if they have ever tried the mild white ones. Tell them to google Hakurei recipes and enjoy.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:29PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

And right now on Chopped they are using white turnips! I grow the OP White Egg.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:31PM
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randy41_1

do rutabagas sell well? never had a customer ask for them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:02AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I have had about a half dozen requests this year when I didn't bring any and when I do they rarely sell.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Randy, you're not missing anything.
I grow them for the weekly winter market. That way I always have something left on the table (cause they don't sell).

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:44AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Thanks for all the confidence in their ability to sell. I have had some people ask for them in years past, along with purple top turnips that is why I grew them.

I am growing them to have something different at our early winter markets. I thought Daikons were a stretch last year, but they did sell fairly well. By the end of the winter markets, people were asking for them and I was out.

Mark,

I have 3 rows in a 3 foot bed. They are kinda thick. I did look last night where they were thinner, they were starting to bulb up more than the thicker ones. If I thin them out some, will that help them bulb up? Ironically, the biggest bulb I found, about golfball sized, was in the one of the thicker areas.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:00AM
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myfamilysfarm

Jay, yes thin them now. I didn't expect either of them to sell, but was pleasantly surprised. smalls and mediums sell better than the large ones. Large were softball or larger sized. I'd bought a bag of each of them, and had to go back and get more of the smalls and mediums, in less than 1 week. I think the bags were 40# or so. (those were turnips).

the ruties were just a few customers, usually the older crowd that grabbed them, nobody else had them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:13AM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

They are a favorite with my CSA members and when I did farmers markets they were a good seller in winter. Tell people they are essential in soups and stews and they will start selling. Once people try them, most will come back for more.

They are my favorite such root as i am not too big on turnips, but I love a good swede.

We grow Laurentian and plant in august so we have the November through March/April

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:00AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I got mine thinned a second time yesterday. Yay. I love rutabagas and it is sad people don't eat them much (and only want them when I don't have them). One of my CSAs said they hated the turnips. I decided to ask how they prepared them and she said raw. So I convinced her to try cooking them. On my husband's low carb diet we ate tons of turnips in place of potatoes. Then we got a little sick of them for a time.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:59AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Here are some of the turnips that I sold last night. Took about 20 pounds, sold 15. Not too bad.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:28PM
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kelise_m

They're beautiful! Do they get that clean with just a pass through your new root washer?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:40PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Yes it only took once. I probably could have just rinsed them off, but since I have it, I wanted to use it.

I also decided that cutting off the tops takes up much less space to pack. Also I can return the tops to the compost pile or just leave them on the ground.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 1:50PM
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brookw_gw

I love turnips, but it's one of those crops I only want a few times a year--like paw paws. Around here, everyone grows them as a forage crop for deer. You can get a lb of seed for $2. I think that has hurt the turnip's image as a good food for people. Nonetheless, I plant several varieties like Tokyo Cross, Just Right, White Lady, Hakureis, etc.along w/good old purple top. I sell some but have to push them really hard. I also do rutabegas and feel they underrated as well. Winter radishes are somewhat popular too. Both take a long time to mature, and I like harvesting them after a frost. Regardless, what I don't sell gets left in the field as a cover crop and for the deer to clean up by spring.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:30PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Turnips as an animal feed is very true. My neighbor, 1/2 mile down the road, plants 40 acres to turnips after harvesting soybeans. They are now planted and are just coming up. He lets them get a big as possible, then turns the cows out on them after he brings them home from summer pasture. Last year the seed dealer gave him turnips for grazing, they had lots of leaves, but the root was very small. He was disappointed because the cows would go out and dig up the turnips and eat them, basically extending the use of this area for winter forage. He didn't make the same mistake this year.

I figure with our winter markets, I can push them a little easier. I could give samples and I am sure I can move them, especially since the winter market is inside and I could cook some up.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:50PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

A farmer at my market has a fancy root veggie washer too he bought for $3500. That explains why they are so beautiful and mine aren't.

I brought 3 bunches of red and white turnips, 2 bunches of two rutabagas, and 4 small bunches of three parsnips. All $2. I sold one rutie and one parsnip but it was a very slow market. Sold only 3 bunches of carrots, 2 beets and 1 to 2 icicle radishes. All the people who had been asking for this stuff were scared off by the weather!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:57PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I took twice as many turnips as I did on Wednesday and almost sold out. They have been selling much better than expected, but I thing is for sure, I am not going to get rich selling them! But the labor isn't very much for them either.

I also did take some baseball and softball sized haikuri turnips too. I actually forgot I planted them because, I planted the other half of the bed to the purple topped ones. It was nice to offer a choice for people.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:43AM
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