LynnW
Full Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: Oak Forest, Illinois

The Rutabagas Are Funny Looking!

My son-in-law went out to harvest the rutabagas yesterday and when he dug them up there was just a purplish white root that smelled like a rutabaga but no rutabaga! The leaves that were above the ground were big and full and green. We thought we would go for one to see if they were ready yet and just found this root. These roots were about 6 inches long and kinda skinny. So, we tried another and --- same thing --- just a purplish root. We planted them in May. We are in the south suburbs of Chicago which I think is zone 4 or 5. Can anyone tell me what we did wrong?

Thanks
Lynn
Love Me, Love My Dog!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I have forgotten the exact reason why they have grown such that the sugars were not deposited in a nice round ball but, if memory serves, it may be due to a lack of a certain nutrients in the soil. The most likely culprit would be Phosphorous because it aids in root growth.

Does anyone know for sure?

I think the answer for next year is to fortify your soil with some good manure and some mulched up leaves.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

From this site:
https://www.explore.cornell.edu/scene.cfm?scene=home%20gardening&stop=HG%20%2D%20Find%20a%20Vegetable&view=HG%20%2D%20Find%20a%20Vegetable%20Profile&ID=230

"... does not require rich soils. High organic matter and/or nitrogen levels may cause poorly shaped roots."

They also do better in cool weather. From this site with other helpful info:
https://www.wowpages.com/nga/EDIT/Articles/turnips.qua

"All About Rutabagas

Rutabagas flourish and taste best when grown in northern or central regions and planted in late spring or summer so roots mature in cool autumn weather. Rutabagas touched by a few good frosts taste the sweetest."

Newt

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Hey Newt!!! Glad to see you around. Thanks for your help in answering this question.

LynnW
Full Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: Oak Forest, Illinois

Thanks, guys, for the help in understanding what went wrong. Now we know what to do right next year. :P

Lynn
Love Me, Love My Dog!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Happy to help. Good luck with your gardening.

Remember that now is the time of year to be saving (not throwing away) all those fallen leaves. Just go over them with your lawn mower and spread the mulch over your vegetable garden. A little manure over the top of that and next spring, you willhave the best soil ever!

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