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Golden Ball Turnip Guide

This exceptional heirloom from 1859 produces beautiful 3-4 inch globes in 50 days. The hardy turnip has a delicate, mild peppery taste sure to delight your taste buds. Both its greens and roots are edible.


Turnips grow best in cooler weather between 40°F-75°F. They do great in containers and small gardens. Bank on Seeds recommends direct seeding.

If Direct Seeding

  • Direct seed outside 2-3 weeks before the last frost date; or
  • Direct seed into a container 10-12 inches deep and wide anytime of the year. It can be placed outside when the temperature is between 40°F-75°F; or

If Transplanting

Turnips usually do not transplant well. However, if you do, start the seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date in biodegradable pods that will let the roots grow through; clingwrap the top of the container to seal in the warmth. Germination is best and fastest between 60°F-75°F. It can be transplanted outside 4 weeks later. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2-4 inches apart with rows spaced 18-36 inches apart. Germination will take 3-10 days. Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart when they start competing for space.


Golden Ball turnips like well-draining, light soil free of weeds. They also love full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Water regularly to keep the soil lightly moist, not soggy. Check the top 2-3 inches of soil and if it’s dry, then water it. Watering consistently will ensure the flavor of the turnip doesn’t turn woody.

Adding a layer of mulch helps in retaining moisture, regulating temperature, and preventing weed growth. Avoid nitrogen heavy fertilizer as that will impact the taste - 5-10-10 fertilizer or compost tea would be good for root development. You can new seeds every 10 days for a continuous harvest if desired. Sow late in summer for a fall harvest.


Golden Ball turnips develop in 50 days. Snip off the greens periodically as needed or wait until fully mature to harvest the roots. If you want more tender roots, pull them out when they are younger at 30 days. You can simply pull the turnip by hand or dig gently to loosen the soil then pull out.


Turnip repulses aphids

Black rot, clubroot - do not water from overhead, keep free of weeds, ensure enough air circulation, cut off affected parts, fungicide, neem oil, rotate crop every 3 years

*Companion plant turnips with broccoli, cabbage, celery, lettuce, onions, swiss chard and spinach. Avoid planting with other root vegetables and potatoes.*

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