When to Harvest Purple Top Turnips: Peak Harvesting Guide




When to Harvest Purple Top Turnips

Purple Top turnips are typically ready for harvest when they reach 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Harvest before they become too large and woody.

Purple Top turnips, a cool-season root vegetable favored for their mild flavor and versatility, reach maturity between 45 to 65 days from planting. Gardeners can look forward to collecting these biennial crops when the turnip globes emerge above the soil, revealing their signature purple crowns, a clear sign of ripeness.

Timing Your Turnip Harvest

Harvesting Purple Top Turnips at the right time ensures their best flavor and texture. Getting the timing right involves understanding a few key factors that impact their growth. Let’s explore what you need to know to pick your turnips at their peak.

Timing Your Turnip Harvest

Climate Considerations

Your local climate plays a big role in when to harvest turnips. In cooler regions, turnips grow well in spring and fall. Warmer areas may have different windows for planting and harvesting.

Turnips prefer the cold; frost can actually enhance their flavor. It’s best to harvest before the heat of summer kicks in or after summer in warmer climates.

  • Frost-tolerant, but prolonged freezing is harmful
  • Plant at least 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost
  • For a fall harvest, plant turnips late summer

Growth Cycle Indicators

Turnips generally take 5 to 10 weeks to mature. Observing your turnips can provide the best clues for when they’re ready.

Look for these signs:

  • The top of the turnip bulb is visible above the soil
  • Bulb diameter reaches 2 to 3 inches
  • Leaves are a vibrant green

Check regularly as turnips can become woody if left too long. A good rule of thumb is to test harvest a few turnips to gauge their maturity.

Signs of Maturity in Purple Top Turnips

Knowing when to harvest purple top turnips ensures crisp texture and sweet flavor. Look for maturity signs before picking. These signs indicate peak ripeness and readiness for your kitchen or market.

Root Size and Color

Root size signals harvest time. Ideal purple top turnips reach 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Larger roots may become woody. Use a gentle touch to confirm size without uprooting.

Color also reveals maturity. Mature turnips boast a deep purple crown and creamy white base. A well-defined color contrast means they’re ready.

Leaf Health and Vigor

Healthy leaves suggest good root development. Look for green, vibrant leaves. Yellow or wilted leaves may indicate over-maturity or poor health.

Leaf vigor is key. Energetic growth above ground often mirrors root growth. Check the top leaves – if they are upright and lively, it’s a green light for harvest.

Learn more: How to Cut a Turnip

The Role of Weather in Turnip Harvesting

Weather plays a pivotal role in the growth cycle of Purple Top Turnips. Knowing when to harvest these root vegetables can be a bit of an art form. Ideal conditions can enhance flavor, texture, and size. Let’s explore how temperature shifts can impact the harvesting window, ensuring your turnips are pulled from the ground at their peak.

Frost’s Impact on Flavor

A kiss of frost can actually work wonders for the flavor profile of turnips. As temperatures dip just below freezing, turnips convert starches into sugars. This results in a natural sweetening that many gardeners aim for. Wait for a light frost before harvesting to tap into this tasty transformation.

Heat and Bolting Risks

Warm weather accelerates the growth of turnips, but there’s a fine line to tread. When the mercury rises, the risk of ‘bolting’ increases. Bolting is when the plant starts to flower and set seeds. It’s a sign that the focus is shifting from root development to reproduction, typically making the roots tough and less tasty. Aim to harvest your turnips before sustained warm weather sets in to avoid this issue.

TemperatureEffect on TurnipsRecommended Action
Below 32°F (0°C)Increases sweetnessHarvest after light frost
Above 68°F (20°C)Risk of boltingHarvest before heat spells

Monitor your local weather closely and schedule your turnip harvest accordingly for the best results. Happy gardening!

Harvesting Techniques for Best Yields

Seeking a bountiful harvest of purple top turnips? Mastering the right harvesting techniques ensures the best yields. Dig into the know-how of harvesting your turnips with precision. Learn the art of Proper Lifting and Cutting and Minimizing Root Damage. Discover the secrets below.

Proper Lifting and Cutting

Timing and technique are crucial for turnip harvesting. Aim to harvest when size and maturity coincide. Follow these steps:

  1. Check the shoulders. When a turnip’s top pushes through the soil, it’s ready.
  2. Use a garden fork. Gently insert it beside the turnip to loosen the soil.
  3. Lift carefully. Grasp the top and ease the turnip out with a gentle twisting motion.
  4. Cut the greens off. Leave an inch to prevent the root from drying out quickly.

Minimizing Root Damage

Protecting the integrity of your turnips during harvest is vital. Here are tips to maintain their quality:

  • Avoid pulling hard. This can break the greens from the root.
  • Don’t wash the roots. Just brush off the soil to store longer.
  • Handle with care. Rough handling can bruise the turnips.
  • Storage tip: Place in a cool, humid space for longevity.

Post-harvest Handling and Storage

Post-Harvest Handling and Storage

After harvesting Purple Top Turnips, proper handling and storage are crucial. These steps ensure turnips stay fresh longer and taste better. This is where cleaning, curing, and finding the optimal storage conditions play vital roles. Let’s dive into the specifics to keep your turnips in peak condition.Cleaning and Curing

Cleaning and Curing

First up is cleaning and curing your turnips. Remove the dirt gently. Avoid bruising the turnips. Use soft brushes if necessary. Then, let them dry. This process is termed ‘curing’. It helps heal small wounds on the turnips. This step is essential. It prolongs shelf life before storage.Optimal Storage Conditions

Optimal Storage Conditions

Storing turnips in the right conditions is next. Temperature and humidity are key. Your turnips prefer cool places. A temperature of 32-38°F (0-3°C) is ideal. Humidity should be high. Aim for 95-98%. This keeps them crisp. Use perforated plastic bags to maintain humidity. Store separately from fruits. Some fruits give off gases that can spoil turnips.

  • Temperature: 32-38°F (0-3°C)
  • Humidity: 95-98%
  • Storage: In perforated plastic bags


Knowing the right time to pluck purple top turnips can greatly enhance your culinary experience. Aim for that sweet spot when they’re firm yet tender. Keep monitoring soil and size for succulent roots. Embrace the simple cues from nature, and you’ll enjoy the freshest, most flavorful turnips from your garden. See all in at Farm Pioneer for knowledge based for Turnips.