I know many people (members of my family) don’t like rutabagas. I love them. I love chopping them up into a hearty stew, mashing them with potatoes, and just roasting them. They are soooo yummy! I planted seeds for American Purple Top Rutabagas on March 15th (98 days ago). Rutabagas only need 90-100 days to grow. So I pulled them out of the ground today. Three of them had nice big bulbs, three of them were straight and not bulbous. 😦 I had the same problem with the beets and radishes.
Rutabagas are a cross between a cabbage and turnip. They’re sweeter than turnips. And the leaves are edible like turnip leaves (I didn’t know that until I was researching today).
Rutabagas do better when ripening in cooler weather. And they sweeten up after experiencing a frost (good to know!). Many people leave the roots in the ground overwinter (cutting back the tops and heavily mulching) and pulling the roots out of the ground as they need them.
I plan to plant rutabagas again for this fall. Our last frost date is mid-October so I’ll plant seeds around mid to late July. Hopefully I’ll get a better crop then.
After some reading I found there are two reasons for no root development. One is not thinning or too closely spaced plants. The other is the nitrogen levels of the soil.
The spacing of all my crops is according to the square foot gardening method. I’m having a hard time believing that the book, and all the people who square foot garden, could be wrong.
I’m thinking my problem might be nitrogen levels. I never tested my soil so it could be too high in nitrogen. High nitrogen levels usually lead to all tops and no roots. I’m going to pick up a soil test kit this week and test my soil.
Anyone else have advice for getting root crops to bulb? Or have a favorite rutabaga recipe?