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Rutabagas

Rutabaga lovers, unite! It is time that America embraced this yummy Brassica without prejudice, for the maligned Rutabaga never deserved its culinary ill-repute. It has a rich, golden-mellow flavor and texture that enhances stir-fries, soups, stews, combo root vegetable mashes and pancakes, souffles and, yes, it's true, even fresh salads! Rutabagas resemble giant Turnips, although they have distinctive leafy necks and smooth, waxy leaves. More hardy than Turnips yet intolerant of hot weather and requiring a longer season to mature, Rutabagas should be planted primarily as a cool fall crop with room to grow. Sow Rutabaga seed in mid-summer, eventually spacing the plants 6" to 8" apart with rows 15" to 20" apart. Once the purple-shouldered, golden roots reach the size of softballs (or before a severe frost), harvest by pulling out the entire plant. Cut off tops within 1" of the crown: store them in a cool, humid spot for delectable use throughout the winter. Deer resistant.

Average seed life: 3 years.

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Gardening Tips

Rutabaga Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Row Spacing:15”-20”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Days to Germination:7-10 days
Germination Temperature:45°-75°F

A cool weather root vegetable, Rutabagas are much like giant Turnips with distinctive, leafy necks and smooth, waxy leaves. In mid-summer, about 3 months before the first fall frost, deeply dig a rich, well-draining bed in full sunlight. Amend well with compost and/or well-rotted manure. Sow seeds 1⁄2" deep and 2" to 3" apart. Keep the seed bed moist while germinating. Once the seedlings are 3" tall, thin to 6" to 8" apart. Keep well watered, cultivated and mulched to deter weeds and retain ground moisture: Rutabagas don’t like competition. Once the purple-shouldered, golden roots reach the size of softballs or before a severe frost, harvest by removing the entire plant; cut off tops within 1" of the crown and store. Rutabagas can be stored for long periods in a cool, humid place. A member of the Brassica family, Rutabagas should not be grown in the same site as other Brassicas for 4 years.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Root Vegetables