Heirloom. These are the tops of turnips, a classic Southern staple, but widely adapted throughout the US. Very fast growing, they can be harvested at whatever size you wish. Grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciate it in spring in hot climates. Highly nutritious.The leaves are very nutritious and low in calories. Like mustard greens and collards, the leaves taste sweetest and best when nipped by frost.

Only available in the following states, in limited quantities: AL, FL, GA

  • Light Full sun to part shade
  • Leaf size 8 to 12 inches
  • Matures 30 to 40 days
  • Plant spacing 6 inches apart
  • Plant size 1 foot tall

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

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At a glance

Light requirements: Full sun is ideal, but plants yield in part shade. Protect plants from strong afternoon sun in warmest regions.

Planting: Space 6 inches apart.

Soil requirements: These greens grow in nearly any type soil, including sandy. An ideal site offers moist, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 4 to 6 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 5.5 to 6.8.

Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Evenly moist soil yields tender flavor; droughty conditions produce strong, bitter greens. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation and keep leaves clean from splashing soil.

Frost-fighting plan: Established plants tolerate hard frosts (temperatures below 28º F). Frost-kissed leaves boast sweeter flavor. It’s a good idea to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring or early fall frosts by covering plants with a frost blanket.

Common issues: In regions where spring heats up fast, hot sun can make turnip greens taste strong and bitter. Longer days trigger flower formation on spring-planted turnip greens. Watch out for aphids and mites.

Harvesting: For best flavor, harvest leaves when night temperatures are in the 40s. Pick leaves one at a time, or use a sharp knife to harvest bunches of leaves. Cut the entire plant to 2 to 3 inches from the ground, and the root will sprout in 2 to 3 weeks.

Storage: Wash and dry leaves, then roll up in paper towels or a dish towel. Slip the bundle into a loosely closed plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Leaves store up to 5 days.

For more information, visit the Turnip Greens page in our How to Grow section.