American Purple Top Rutabaga

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American Purple Top Rutabaga is a root vegetable, originating as a hybrid between the cabbage and the turnip. American Purple Top is cold-hardy and a reliable grower of 3-5 inch diameter roots. Delicious roasted, cooked and mashed and is yellow after cooking while turnips are white. Also delicious raw in salads and slaws. Rutabaga is high in Thiamin, Vitamin B6, and Calcium.

Also Known As: Swede, Swedish Turnip, Wax Turnip, Neep

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Plant Name:
Rutabaga, American Purple Top
Latin Name:
Brassica napa brassica
Days to Germinate: 4-9
Days to Harvest: 85
Germination Rate: 90%
Test Date: 11/21
Growth Habit: Root
USDA Zones: 2-9
Lifespan: Annual
Country of Origin: United States
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Shade
GMO: No
Pollination:
Heirloom, Open-Pollinated
Fungicide-Treated Seeds*: No
Seeds Packed For**: 2022
*Fungicide-treated seeds protect the seedlings from diseases until they are up and growing. Do not eat treated seeds.
**Seeds are freshly packed for the growing season of the year listed. Seeds are still viable beyond pack date. Store in a cool and dry location such as the refrigerator or basement to best preserve germination rates.


Planting Instructions:

 

Soil Preparation and Fertilizing:

Rutabagas are a cool-season crop and do well in the cool temperatures of early Spring and Fall. Rutabaga can be planted in partial shade and grow best in deep, well-drained soils. To prepare the soil, clear the area of rocks, trash, and large sticks. Small pieces of grass and leaves can be mixed into the soil to make it richer. Spade the soil 10-12 inches deep and completely cover plant material to help it break down more quickly. Enrichening heavy soils with compost can help build large roots. You may optionally scatter 2-3 pounds of a complete fertilizer on the soil for each 100 square feet of garden area. Or 1 cup of fertilizer for each 10 feet of row. If soil has a lot of tight clay, you may optionally add compost after adding fertilizer and rake into top 4 inches of soil. 
 

Planting:

Plant rutabagas as soon as the soil can be worked in the Spring. In southern states, turnips can grow well all winter. Soil temperature should be at least 40F for seeds to sprout. Bed the soil into 6-8-inch-tall raised ridges to allow soil to drain and let air enter soil. Space the ridges 18-24 inches apart from center to center. Widen the planting bed next by patting down or dragging the top of the ridge flat with a hoe or rake. This will make an 8-10 inch flat raised planting bed. Use a hoe handle or stick to make a 1/2 inch furrow deep down the center of the ridge.  Plant 1-3 seeds in the furrows spaced 4 inches apart within the rows. Cover lightly with loose soil then sprinkle with water.  For a Fall crop, start planting 8-10 weeks before the first expected frost. During Fall planting, you may cover the seeds with sand or light-colored mulch to keep the row cool. For rutabaga greens, make 2 or 3 plantings 10 days apart for a continuous supply of fresh rutabaga greens.
(Tip: If you have already spaced the rows 3 feet apart or plan on planting other vegetables after rutabaga, you may plant 2 rows of rutabaga seeds per row, 1 down each side of the ridge).
 
Planting Depth: 1/2 inch
Within-Row Spacing:
4 inches
Between-Row Spacing:
18-24 inches

 

Care During the Season:

Watering: Water the plants well weekly if it does not rain. Soak seedlings to develop a good root system. You may optionally scratch the soil around the plants lightly with a rake or hand tool to keep the soil from crusting until small plants break through.

Weeding: Keep the plants free of weeds, which rob weak root systems of nutrients and moisture. Try not to work the soil more than 1 inch deep to prevent injuring root systems.

Thinning: When plants become crowded in the row, thin the rutabagas by pulling some plants. After thinning the rutabaga plants should be 3-4 inches apart. Overcrowding prevents rutabaga roots from developing.
 
Insecticides: Insecticides may be used to protect plants. Bt-based insecticides and sulfur are organic options that can be used for prevention. Sevin is a synthetic option. Sulfur also has fungicidal properties and helps in controlling many diseases. Before using a pesticide, please read the label and always follow cautions, warnings and directions.

Diseases: Disease on rutabagas are most severe in cloudy, damp weather. Check plants daily and treat with an approved fungicide if diseases do appear. Neem oil, sulfur, and other fungicides are available for use. Please always follow label directions.

Harvesting:

Harvest rutabaga roots when they are 3 1/2-4 inches in diameter. If left longer they can be tough and stringy. Harvest rutabaga greens by pulling a few leaves or the entire plant when the leaves are 8-10 inches long. Rutabagas may go to seed quickly when days become long and hot. Rutabaga roots will keep several weeks in a cool area like the bottom of a refrigerator or root cellar. Unused rutabaga greens can be spaded in the soil for quick composting.


Nutrition Facts:

Calories 145
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.6 g 0%
Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 46 mg 1%
Potassium 1,177 mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11%
Dietary fiber 9 g 36%
Sugar 17 g
Protein 4.2 g 8%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 160%
Calcium 16% Iron 9%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 20%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 19%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.