Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Brassica napus
(brass-ih-cah nay-pus)

rutabaga rutabaga rutabaga rutabaga rutabaga

What about it?

Rutabagas are members of the Mustard family along with turnips, kale, and cabbage. They are a good cool weather crop. Rutabagas are larger and sweeter than turnips but otherwise have a similar taste.

What is it used for?

Rutabagas are grown for their edible roots. These roots may get as large as 8 inches in diameter.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Rutabagas will take about 90 days to mature. They prefer the cool weather and can tolerate frost. For this reason they make an excellent spring or fall crop. Fall crops are usually sweeter than the spring crops though. Plant rutabagas in loose soil. Water well once a week. Thin when they are 4 inches high.

What are its primary problems?

Cabbage root maggots may be a problem.

How do we propagate it?

Broadcast seeds over well-tilled beds. Cover seeds with 1/2 inch of soil.

How do we harvest and store it?

Rutabagas grow partially out of the ground. Pick when they are the size you want; typically they are best at about the size of an orange. Dig out of the ground with a spade. Store at low temperatures at a high humidity. They will keep for several months.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.