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Turnip Package of Practice

The turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip greens” and they resemble mustard greens in flavor. Turnip is eaten mainly as a cooked vegetable. The roots contain fair amount of vitamin A, B and C and the greens contains calcium, iron and vitamin A.

Climate and soil :

Turnip is best adapted to a cool or moderate climate. It is a hardy crop and can tolerate mild freezing temperature. Asiatic varieties require warmer climatic conditions and are sown earlier than European types. The most favorable temperature for the development of the root
and the ratio of root/greens are 10o -13°C air temperature and 18o -23°C root temperature. As far as possible, turnip should be grown in open sunny place. Under shade, foliage grows at the expense of root development. Wide ranges of soils are suitable for turnip cultivation
provided, the soils are supplied with adequate organic matter. However, rich sandy loam soil having good soil moisture retention capacity is best. The ideal pH for turnip cultivation is 5.5-6.8.

Varieties :

Purple top white, early snowball.

Sowing time :

Hills : September-November
Foothills : September-November

Seed rate, methods of sowing and spacing :

The seed rate per hectare is 3-4 kg. Seeds are sown directly in the main field. The seeds are sown thinly at 1-1.5 cm deep in drills 10 – 15 cm apart. When the plants are 10-15 days old, thinning is done to keep them at 20 – 30 cm in the row. Sowing is also done on ridges by opening shallow furrows on the ridges and seeds are sown as per method mentioned above. In normal cases, seeds germinate after 4-6 days of sowing.

Manures and Fertilizers :

The recommended quantities of manure and fertilizers for cultivation of turnip are 250 qtl/ha FYM supplemented with 60-70kg/ha N and 40-50kg/ha each P and K. The FYM should be applied 20 days before sowing, while phosphorus and potash should be given at the time of
sowing and placed 7-8cm below the seed. The nitrogenous fertilizer should be given in two split doses, half before sowing and the rest at the time of root formation with the second and third irrigation.

Intercultural operations :

The first thinning for removal of weak and feeble seedlings is done when the seedlings are large enough to handle (4-5cm). Second thinning is done after 7- 10 days, maintaining a distance between plant to plant at 10-15 cm. Shallow hoeing at least twice is advisable for providing good environment and for keeping down the weeds. Earthing up is usually done 20-25 days after sowing. Sometimes side shoots are developed which should be removed periodically. Earthing up and top dressing of nitrogenous fertilizer are done simultaneously.

Irrigation :

First irrigation is done soon after germination. The crop needs irrigation at an interval of 10-15 days. In order to obtain higher and early percentage of germination, there should be adequate soil moisture at the time of sowing. If the field is dry, pre-sowing irrigation is done.
Usually rainy season crop does not require irrigation except during long dry spells of drought. On the other hand summer season crop requires irrigation at 5-6 days interval. Both basin and furrow methods of irrigations are adopted. The crop should be supplied with plenty of water from root enlargement to harvest as it is the most sensitive and critical stage and any stress will drastically lower the yield.

Harvesting :

Turnip should be harvested as soon as they attain marketable size of 5-10cm in diameter. If harvesting is delayed, the roots become fibrous and hard and the quality deteriorates very rapidly. Harvested roots are cleaned, tops are cut and roots are graded according to size and
tenderness.

Yield :

The average yield of turnip varies from 190-250qtl/ha.