How to sow rutabaga
Rutabaga prefers cool weather and is best grown as a fall crop. Sow seeds average soil in full sun in late summer. Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones. Rutabagas develop large roots so make sure the soil is loose at least 6-8 inches deep.
Sow seeds thinly and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days depending on weather conditions. Thin to stand about 6-8 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.
How to grow rutabaga
Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.