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Companion Planting / Gardening 101

5 Best Turnip Companion Plants: What to Plant & Not Plant

Choosing your turnip companion plants carefully can have a significant effect on their growth, flavor and overall yield. Are you an avid gardener looking to maximize the potential of your turnips? Look no further! In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of companion planting turnips while uncovering which are the best and worst plants to grow alongside turnips. 

With strategic companion selection, you can create an ecosystem in your garden which promotes pest control, increases soil fertility, and ultimately increases yield. So, get your gardening gloves out, and let’s get planting!

Summary of How to Grow Turnips

Before we dive into companion planting, let’s quickly discuss how to grow turnips. Turnips are cool-season root vegetables rich in nutrients. Turnips can be grown both spring and fall in well-drained soil with an optimal pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. 

In terms of harvest time frame, turnips usually reach maturity within 30-60 days, making them an appealing option for gardeners looking for a quick return on their investment.

Best Conditions for Growing Turnip

Best ClimateTurnips grow best in sunny, temperate environments that provide adequate drainage. Soil should also be fertile and moisture-retaining.
Plant SpacingIf you’re growing turnips for their roots, thin out seedlings to 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart for early, smaller roots. For showpiece-sized turnips, leave more space between each seedling – approximately 9 inches (23 cm).
Planting Depth1/4 – 1/2 inch (6-12mm)
Time till HarvestQuick-growing varieties may be harvested within four to five weeks, while longer maturing varieties could take 8-10 weeks for full harvesting.
PositionFull-sun or part shade
Life CycleIn general, turnips are grown as annuals; however, they’re actually biennials. This means that if left in the ground through winter, they’ll produce flowers and seeds in the spring.

Best Turnip Companion Plants

Now that we have an overview, let’s discover which plants would make great turnip companion plants.

homegrown organic beets with leaves on soil background, turnip companion plants

Beets 

Companion planting turnips and beets is a fantastic duo due to their similar growth habits and environmental requirements. They both thrive in full sun (6-8 hours a day) and prefer moderate temperatures. 

Also, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0-7.5) is ideal for their growth. Together, they are an efficient use of garden space that will reap abundant harvests of both vegetables. Beets also act as natural repellents against pests that target turnips.

carrots in the garden, best turnip companion plants

Carrots

Carrots and turnips pair perfectly together both gastronomically and botanically in your garden. Thanks to having different root depths, they don’t compete for nutrients and space. Companion planting turnips and carrots also help deter pests such as carrot rust flies and cabbage root maggots.

growing onion in the vegetable garden, companion planting turnips

Onions 

Onions make an excellent partner to turnips due to their ability to ward off pests and confuse their sense of smell. This helps in repelling insects that would otherwise target turnips. They also help deter aphids and other potential threats that might damage crop yields.

chives and other herbs growing on a garden, companion planting turnips

Chives 

Chives make great companion plants for turnips due to their delicate purple blooms and onion-like taste, repelling pests while attracting beneficial insects. Their shallow root systems also do not hinder turnip root development.

Fresh spinach from the ground. Farmer picking vegetables, organic produce harvested from the garden, organic farming concept, best turnip companion plants

Spinach

Spinach’s leafy greens offer shade and protection for turnip roots.  Make the most of limited garden space by interplanting both vegetables. Companion planting turnips and spinach will result in an abundant harvest of both.

Worst Turnip Companion Plants

Now it’s time to look at the worst turnip companion plants.

Kohlrabi growing in garden. Kohlrabi in vegetable bed. worst turnip companion plants

Kohlrabi

While kohlrabi belongs to the same family as turnips, they should never be planted together. These two brassicas can cross-pollinate and produce hybridized fruits that may prove unappetizing in your garden. To avoid any issues related to cross-pollination and unwanted hybridization, it is advisable to keep these plants separate in your plot.

Leaf mustard greens grow at vegetable garden, turnip companion plants

Mustard Greens

Indian mustard greens do not make ideal companions for turnips as their pests and diseases overlap, increasing the risk of infestation while decreasing overall yields.

radish in the garden, worst companion planting turnips

Radishes

Although radishes are commonly recommended as companion plants for turnips, planting them too close could actually inhibit their root development. If planted two to three weeks prior to sowing turnips, however, radishes can help break up soil and deter root maggots. 

Once your turnips have started developing, it is best to harvest radishes in order to prevent overcrowding and stunted development of your turnips.

cabbage, worst turnip companion plants

Cabbages

Cabbage and turnips do not make good companions. Both plants belong to the Brassica family and share similar pests and diseases, increasing the risk of spreading clubroot or cabbageworm infestation. Therefore, for optimal crop health and productivity purposes, it’s wise to keep these two crops apart for the best results.

potatoes on ground in field, worst companion planting turnips

Potatoes

Potatoes and turnips do not make good companion plants, as potatoes have different soil pH requirements and water needs than turnips. 

Cultivating both together could cause competition for nutrients that could stunt both crops’ development. To maximize success in your garden, it would be wiser to allocate separate spaces for these two vegetables.

FAQS: Turnip Companion Planting

What is the best time to plant turnips? 

Turnips may be planted in both spring and fall. For spring crops, sow the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked; fall crops can be planted 6-8 weeks prior to your first frost date in your region.

What shouldn’t be planted next to turnips? 

Avoid planting turnips next to kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, cabbages, or potatoes, as these plants could compete for nutrients, share pests or diseases with each other or inhibit the growth of turnips.

Is It OK to plant cucumbers and turnips together? 

Turnips and cucumbers are good companion plants because cucumbers do not spread across the soil (if staked properly). Cucumbers don’t compete for nutrients with turnips, nor do they take up valuable underground space.

Where is the best place to plant turnips? 

Turnips thrive best in well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0, receiving full or partial sun. Fertile and amended with organic matter soil is key for optimal turnip growth.

Final Thoughts on Turnip Companion Plants

Companion planting turnips with other vegetables is an amazing way to boost their productivity and resilience in the field. Selecting compatible turnip companion plants can create a harmonious garden ecosystem that promotes natural pest control, improves soil fertility, and increases overall yield. 

When choosing turnip companion plants, keep in mind the growth habits, nutrient requirements, and compatibility issues when selecting their perfect partners – happy gardening!

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About the Author

Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.