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Turnip

sown, common, root, crop and cultivation

TURNIP, a popular name for two closely related biennial herbs of the family Brasst caceo. The common turnip (Brass:cc; raps) has a flattened white-fleshed, tuberous root crowned by a compact tuft of thin green hairy leaves from the centre of which, during the second season, a flower-stem rises about 18 inches and bears numerous yellow flowers. The Swedish turnip, rutabaga or bags (B. campes tris), has a more globular yellow-fleshed root with a more or less distinct leafy neck and glaucous bluish hairless cabbage-like leaves. The flowers are also yellow. The former has also a tap-root with few fibres; the latter has a large number of fibrous roots not only from the main tap-root but from the base of the tuberous part. Neither of these species is definitely known in the wild state, but they are supposed to be natives of eastern Europe or adjacent parts of Asia. They have been culti vated for centuries as food for man and beast, the common turnip for early use in and autumn and the rutabaga more as a winter vegetable or stock food. In many places they have run wild and are occasionally known as charlock. When wild they soon lose the tuber ous root.

Except in season of sowing, the cultivation of both species is similar. The common turnip is a quick-growing plant which is usually sown as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring or during midsummer. The first sowing pro duces roots for late spring and early summer use; the last, for autumn consumption. The rutabaga is generally grown as a full season crop, the seed •being sown in late spring. It is

much richer in flavor than the common turnip. Like other root crops both these plants suc ceed best upon deep, rich, well-drained light loamy soils free from stones and other obstruc tions. The seed is sown in drills about 18 inches apart and the plants thinned to stand about eight inches asunder. The late crop is often sown broadcast, particularly where beef cattle are kept, since the animals may he turned upon the field to browse after the larger roots have been gathered for storing or sale. For success in such practice, however, the supply of moisture in the ground must be abundant, and the soil must be in the highest possible state of tilth before the sowing of the seed be cause no cultivation can be given during the growing season. When sown in drills clean cultivation must be given until the leaves meet between the rows and completely shade the ground. Under favorable conditions and good cultivation the yield has exceeded 1,000 bushels to the acre, but under ordinary management half this amount is nearer the average. The early crop is often sold in bunches; the late, by measure. The only insects that are occa sionally troublesome are the maggot and the flea-beetle. The former may be avoided by judicious rotation, turnips never being planted oftener than once in three years upon land which has been occupied by a cruciferous crop. The flea-beetles may be repelled by tobacco dust, Bordeaux mixture, etc.