Growing Tips: Rutabaga

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Germination: 8 to 16 days. Plant spacing in the garden, 5 to 6 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil but soil must be kept moist at all times until seedlings emerge Plant seed 1/4 inch deep

When and where to plant:

Rutabagas prefer cool weather and produce high quality roots, maturing late summer in Alaska. Rutabagas are often confused with turnips and are grown the same way except they take a month longer to mature. They are frost tolerant and can be planted soon as the soil can be prepared and has warmed in the spring. Choose a sunny location, cultivate any good garden soil to a depth of at least 8 inches, enrich with plant food, rake the soil surface smooth then plant seed directly in the garden, firm soil over seed and keep moist until seedlings emerge.

Care:

Rutabagas MUST be protected from root maggots. Rutabaga roots are large, thin plants so they are 5 to 6 inches apart when they are young. For mild roots keep soil moist, weed free and apply plant food every 4 weeks during the summer.

Harvest:

Dig roots before the soil freezes in fall. Rutabagas store well in winter.