Fodder turnips will successfully replace fodder beets
Tell us what fodder turnip is and is it difficult to grow it. We keep a large subsidiary farm, before we planted a lot of beets for animal feed. I read that turnip ripens faster and more unpretentious. The only thing that confuses me is that we have a rainy summer. Is it possible to get a good harvest in such conditions?
Forage crops are no less popular than salad crops, especially if there are animals on the farm. For example, forage turnip is a good addition to their diet. The aboveground green part will replace the grass in the summer, and the succulent roots will serve as a vitamin supplement for the cattle in the winter. Given the high frost resistance of the plant, it can be grown in almost any region. In addition, unlike fodder beets, turnips are less demanding on the soil..
Characteristic features of culture
The turnip belongs to the cruciferous family and is a biennial. Among gardeners, it is better known as forage turnip, because it has similar root crops. In the year of sowing, the plant forms a lush rosette of large, wide leaves on long succulent petioles. The leaf plate is colored light green, expands towards the end and most often has pubescence.
By the fall, large roots ripen, and they are easy to harvest – almost half of the turnip rises above the soil. Depending on the variety, the shape of the fruit can be different – cylindrical, round or oval. The same applies to color: there are white, yellow and even purple varieties. The pulp is colored the same color as the underground part of the turnip.
Forage turnip blooms in the second year, forming racemose yellow inflorescences. Turnips can be harvested in the year of planting, but to obtain planting material (seeds), the plants are left in the beds. Rounded brownish seeds ripen in pods.
Turnip is one of the earliest ripening forage crops. The growing season is 80 to 100 days.
Feed turnips: cultivation techniques
You can plant turnips in the spring, at the end of April, or at the beginning of July. Lettuce varieties are often grown through seedlings, which allows harvesting even earlier. In open ground, seeds germinate at 2 ° C, seedlings are not afraid of frosts down to minus 4 °. Biennial plants can withstand temperatures down to minus 7 ° C without damage..
Since the seeds are very small, it is advisable to mix them with sand. This will help to avoid excessive thickening of crops..
The fodder turnip is not demanding for the soil, but it will give larger roots on loams and sod-podzolic peat bogs. It grows best in lighted areas, but can bear fruit in light partial shade. But the plant has a special attitude to moisture – it requires a lot of it. Otherwise, the fruits will be small, not juicy and fibrous..
Turnip care is no different than growing beets or carrots:
- The beds need to be weeded regularly and loosened.
- In dry summer – watering is required.
- To avoid thickening, crops should be thinned 2-3 times.
- On poor soil, turnips can be fed twice by spilling mullein or chicken droppings infusion. In the middle of summer, it does not hurt to add another top dressing in the form of superphosphate to increase the sugar content in the fruits..
You can start harvesting root crops when the lower part of the plants withers and turns yellow. For turnip sown in spring, this occurs at the end of June. The turnip planted in June for winter storage is dug up in early autumn. The main thing is not to allow it to freeze, otherwise the turnip will become lethargic and will not lie.