How to Prepare the Soil for Turnip Planting

Now that spring is here, it’s time to prepare the soil for some turnip planting.  Turnips are tasty, flavorful and best of all, they’re easy to grow.

Hardy as these humble tubers are, they have specific soil requirements in order for them to thrive and produce sweet, delicious roots.

The Soil’s Texture and Composition

The soil you should use must be loose as this encourages good root development.  Turnips also like soil that drains well.  Although they need to be watered every day, soggy soil may cause their roots to rot.

Adding decomposed organic materials such as rotted leaves, compost and peat moss to the soil before starting to plant and at the end of each season will enhance the soil’s balance, nutrient and water holding capacity.

For new turnip beds, add about three to four inches of aged compost, working in until the soil’s texture becomes crumbly.  Do this regularly as organic materials tend to break down over time.

Avoid using fresh manure.  Turnips are not very keen on this because it brings up the nitrogen content of the soil making the roots taste too strong.

The Soil’s Acidity

Turnips grow even if the soil is slightly acidic.  To achieve optimum growth, prepare your soil to a pH level of 6 to 7.

If your soil has too much acid or alkaline, you can use different materials to neutralize its acidity.  Adding compost to whatever type of soil will help balance out its mineral and chemical content.  You may also add half a pound of lime for every ten square feet of soil.

If you have little space in your garden and the soil that you have is too rock hard and very compact, you can try building a raised bed with wood or cinder blocks as borders.

Add plenty of decomposed organic materials or planting mix to your plot.  You can also plant in containers, be it made of plastic, terra cotta or wood in whatever form or shape.

But it would be more practical to choose bigger containers to allow enough room for the roots to grow.

The same soil texture, component and acidity requirements apply whether you plant on the ground or in containers.  Fill your container with planting mix from your local garden supply center making sure that it has a loose texture.

Refrain from using yard soil because it will pack down over time and won’t drain efficiently.  It also won’t amply supply the roots with enough nutrients for the turnip to grow.