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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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