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June 6th, 2011

DIY Turnip Seeds

Late last summer I planted turnips, and by the fall I was harvesting them, delicate and delicious. I covered them in late fall with a heavy layer of alfalfa and straw, and by early spring I was harvesting some very tasty turnip greens.

Turnip greens in early spring

Turnip greens in early spring.

And then the rain started. I feel like it rained for weeks. Maybe it did. All I know is that when it stopped, the grass in my yard was knee high, and my turnips looked more like wild mustard than turnips. That’s when I decided to let them go to seed and see if I couldn’t save the seeds and grow another crop of turnips this fall.

Turnips in flower and seed.

Turnips in flower and seed.

The tall flowers attracted lots of beneficial insects, but I had no idea what to expect from these plants. What would the seeds look like? How would I know when they were ready? Will they be viable?

A bundle of turnip seed pods hanging to dry

A bundle of turnip seed pods hanging to dry.

After a few weeks it became clear that seeds were developing. I left the turnips alone for a while and when the flowers began to fade and fall away, I pulled out the plants. Then I cut a random sampling of the seed pods, tied them together and hung them from my trellis, figuring that they should dry for a while. And that’s where they are now.

A closer look at the bundle.

A closer look at the bundle.

Have you ever grown turnips? Have you had luck saving seeds? I’d love to hear your tales of turnips.

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