How to Grow Rutabagas

Rutabagas, also known as swedes, are a root vegetable with a sweet, earthy flavor. Here�s how to grow rutabagas using organic methods.

Materials Needed

  • Rutabaga seeds
  • Rich, well-draining soil
  • Compost
  • Watering can or hose

Choosing Varieties

Rutabagas come in several varieties:

  • American Purple Top: Classic, large roots.
  • Laurentian: Uniform, sweet flavor.
  • Joan: Early maturing, smooth roots.

Soil Preparation

Rutabagas prefer well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5:

  1. Loosen the Soil: Till to a depth of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).
  2. Add Compost: Mix in 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of compost.

Planting Rutabaga Seeds

Sow seeds directly in the garden:

  1. Spacing: Plant seeds 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) deep, 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart.
  2. Rows: Space rows 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart.

Watering and Mulching

Maintain consistent moisture:

  • Watering: Water regularly, especially during dry periods.
  • Mulching: Apply mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Organic Fertilizing

Rutabagas benefit from regular feeding:

  • Use compost tea or a balanced organic fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

Harvesting Rutabagas

Harvest rutabagas when roots are 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm) in diameter:

  • Method: Pull roots from the soil when they reach the desired size.

Storing Rutabagas

Store rutabagas properly to maintain freshness:

  • In the Fridge: Store roots in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Use within a month.
  • In a Cool, Dry Place: Store roots in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

Growing Tips

  • Rutabagas are frost-tolerant and can be harvested into late fall.
  • Thin seedlings to ensure proper spacing and growth.

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