TURNIPS (Brassica campestris)
The turnip is a native of this country and should be satisfactory in all gardens. The chief difficulty is experienced in gardens whereis naturally dry. It is very important that should grow rapidly without a check from seed to harvest.
Seeds can be sown in deeply-dug soil not recently manured, as soon as the first warm days come in February or March. Soot and wood ashes dusted over the soil before sowing are a help. Sow in drills in. apart, and thin theas soon as possible to 6 in. apart.
Seeds should only be lightly covered, and raking the soil in the same direction as the drill is usually sufficient. Turnips are not hardy enough to stand the severest frosts, and any that are not used before the end of the summer should be lifted and stored as advised for carrots.
Culture under Glass
Turnips force easily from seeds sown early in the New Year in frames over a hot bed. The plants should be thinned to 6 in. apart each way and given as much air as possible on all fine days. Occasional syringing will assist rapid growth and the roots will consequently be more tender.
The chief trouble with turnip cultivation is from the Turnip Fly
Short grass clippings from the lawn, strewn over the surface of the soil round the plants during the hot summer days, does a good deal to keep the fly away. Soot and lime dusted along the rows is also effective.
For the Show table, turnips should be washed and the small roots should be trimmed off, but the end of the tap root should be left whole if it is not too ungainly. Select roots that are of uniform size, with clean, tender skins.
Useful varieties are: “Snowball” and “Golden Ball.” Swede, Garden (Brassica rutabaga) The Garden Swede is cultivated in the same way as a turnip, but is rather hardier. It is preferred by some people on account of its stronger flavour.