The (Great??) Turnip Experiment
August 22, 2015 by solarbeez
Growing turnips for the bees and for us
June 22…I mowed half the mustard flowers down and spaded them into the soil. Those lengths of white pvc were supposed to hold the deer netting over the clover, but the clover experienced a freeze at a delicate stage and died out. All this mustard is volunteer courtesy of our compost bin. Clearly, it doesn’t get hot enough in the bin to kill the seeds.
Two years ago we planted turnip seeds in July and had the happy surprise of turnip flowers in January. The bees appreciated having a nectar/pollen source in the middle of winter.
Last year we tried growing turnips for the bees again, but for some unknown reason, most of them didn’t germinate…only a few in the middle row. We were looking for a place to bury crab shell and dug it in on both sides of the few turnips. They must have liked it because they grew HUGE. Since there were so few and since my wife makes a delicious turnip soup, those turnips never got to go to seed.
This year we’d like to try it again…with lots of crab shell, and lots of turnips. This is our attempt to ‘grow for the bees.’
I had to get the trench dug and bury the crab shell before work. Crab shell doesn’t keep very long before getting really rank. It’s in the bin in the wheelbarrow. A tire is weighing down the lid to keep the raccoons out of it. You don’t want raccoons to make a mess of things. Uh, they will if it’s not protected.
A bucket of kitchen garbage…
…and a bin of crab shell…
…go into the trench.
This is what crab shell looks like after being buried for 8 months.
July 9…The drip water grid is in place. We’re ready to plant.
July 10…Turnip seeds planted and covered with vermiculite.
Deer net hoops set up.
July 17…It looks like ALL the turnip seeds germinated this year.
We better use some fabric to protect them from the wire worm.
August 1…Hmmm. I think I planted these too close. I better thin them out.
We’ll be eating turnip greens for a few days.
I’m going to try some crab water mixed 1:5 parts water to see what happens.
August 1…I’m watering just the outboard rows of turnips with the crab water just to see if crab water encourages them to grow stronger.
This yearling deer is waiting for me to leave ‘her’ garden.
Aug. 9…If a little crab shell is good, does that mean a lot is even better? Let’s add some more on this side.
I better protect it from the raccoons. I don’t want them tearing up the seedlings to get at the crab shell. If you’re wondering where I got all the tires, I used to plant 60 tomato plants…inside the tires for warmth. I poked, cut, and drilled holes in each one to drain rain water out. Now a days, I’m not planting that many tomatoes, but it’s costly to get rid of the tires…anyone want some free tires?
August 23…Turnips are exploding with growth. Just in time because this part of the garden is starting to lose the sun.
August 23…Making Purple Top White Globe Turnips.
August 29…Freshly picked turnip ‘thinnings.’
No bug holes, which is the reason why we use a ‘pest protection’ floating row cover.
August 29…Turnip soup made from scratch by my Sweetie. 🙂
September 2…More turnip thinnings result in a Turnip Frittata. Soooo very delicious!!!
After reading about the health benefits of turnips, I planted more this evening. If they flower in January or February, the bees will benefit as well.