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.