Root Vegetables: Turnips, Rutabagas and Radishes

With dozens of root vegetable varieties to choose from, the right selection can mean the difference between success and disappointment. Use this guide to determine what turnips, rutabagas and radishes will suit you best.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Turnip ‘Snowball’

For a quick crop, this fast-maturing variety is one of the best. The pure white globes are best harvested while young, when their deliciously crisp, firm, white flesh can be enjoyed raw or cooked.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late spring onward
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Turnip ‘Purple Top Milan’

A good choice for early sowings under cloches, this turnip crops reliably and matures quickly. The flat-topped roots are a vivid shade of purple above the soil and pure white beneath it, making them attractive as well as delicious.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Mid-spring onward
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Rutabaga ‘Brora’

This gem among rutabagas has the classic purple top and cream base, but has been bred to produce the finest smooth flesh without any bitterness. Best harvested in early winter to avoid woodiness.

Sow: Late spring to midsummer
Harvest: Mid-fall to midwinter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Radish ‘French Breakfast’

A torpedo-shaped variety with rosy red skin and a bright white tip. Its shape makes it great for slicing, and the crunchy flesh has a mild flavor with just a hint of peppery heat. Easy and quick to grow.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Late spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Radish ‘Cherry Belle’

Probably one of the best vegetables for the absolute beginner, these small, round, brilliant red radishes tolerate poor-quality soil. They grow rapidly, are slow to become woody, and have tasty, mild-flavored flesh.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Late spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade

Chinese Radish ‘Mantanghong’ F1

For a taste of the exotic, try these easy-to-grow, tennis-ball-sized radishes. Their plain, pale green skin hides vivid magenta flesh with a white outer layer, which has a nutty flavor and a touch of heat.

Sow: Early summer to midsummer
Harvest: Late summer to early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil, moist soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun, partial or dappled shade