The Rutabaga, a tasty monstrosity.

The Rutabaga IS NOT the same thing as a turnip. They are in fact a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, a Franken-Vegetable if you will. Also known as a swede, neep or snagger and commonly misidentified as a turnip.
The Rutabaga is a large root vegetable and has two common varieties, the Laurentian and the York.
I have consistently grown the Laurentians for years in my garden here in Nipigon and will be planting some yorks this coming year as well.
The Laurentian Rutabaga and the York Rutabaga both have a 120-day maturity rate. With our slightly less, 100 day growing season they still grow very nicely as they are frost tolerant and even sweeten with frost.
Rutabagas should be planted a week before the last frost date directly in the ground with four per square foot. I have planted five per square foot for slightly smaller vegetables.



You can plant earlier indoors and transplant outside if you want an earlier crop; however, the frosts of fall greatly enhance the flavour.

Early season thinning and weeding may be necessary; however, once the leaves start taking off, they will quickly shade out the competition.

The greens or leaves of the Rutabaga are edible and can be enjoyed as the Rutabaga grows beneath the leaves. Just steam like Swiss Chard or Beet Greens. Rutabagas are ripe for harvest after the first frost and can be left in the ground until the ground starts to freeze which only makes them sweeter.
The mature Rutabaga typically are four to six inches in diameter. The flesh is yellow with a large irregular root or multiple roots from the main vegetable.

Mature turnips are round, smaller, with white flesh and a single regular small root on the main vegetable. They are also picked much earlier in the summer.

Rutabagas can be stored for months in a moist, cool environment or better still coated in wax. They can also be cubed and frozen; however, I find they go a little rubbery. Instead, cook, squash and bag does the trick for me.

Rutabaga is a staple in stews, makes a great substitute or side dish for potatoes and are in an integral part of one of my favourite east coast recipes – Turnip Kraut (It says Turnip, but we use Rutabaga).

Days to Grow: 80 to 100+

Spacing: 4 or 5 per square foot

Effort: Moderate

Weeding and thinning needed early on

Plant: 1 week before Last Frost

Yield: moderate

Enhanced flavour with frost

Gardening Shortcut Links

Square Foot Gardening Section

Square Foot Gardening

Information and resources for square foot gardening here in NW Ontario.

Excel Garden Planner

An excel worksheet I developed to help plan and track my square foot gardening.


North Hardy Plants

Not all plants will grow here, but a lot will.


Useful Resources

The following are additional resources and information as well as basic information for growing this and many other garden plants here in NW Ontario.

Square Foot Gardening Basics

Preserving methods

High productivity, small area

About Garden Planning

Laying out your garden and pre-planning what to plant is best accomplished over the winter months. It gives you escape from the north winds, allows for ordering of seeds and allows you to put some time and effort into laying out your garden.

Since I use the square foot gardening method, I have created a garden planner using Microsoft excel. It allows you layout your garden using the cells in excel, then based on what plants you choose it will calculate planting/harvest times, potential yields, how many seeds you will need and more.

The Garden planner is provided as is, I can and will answer questions on using it and I have made videos on using it. I am hoping to have a full updated version ready for 2019 planning season.

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