Brassica napus x Brassica rapa
- Item # V-20199| 500 Seeds|OP
85 Days to Maturity.
Open-pollinated. This white-fleshed heirloom has put Wardsboro, VT, (population 900) on the culinary map. At the end of October each year, Wardsboro hosts a festival at which Gilfeather is served in all the dishes. Although it has come down in folklore as a turnip, it is really an interspecies cross between a rutabaga and a true turnip, big-knobbed and bulky with small hairy tendrils growing on its light green skin.The root is shaped like a football rather than a sphere, lacks the purple top of both common turnips and rutabaga, has the color of a white turnip (as opposed to the yellowish flesh of common rutabaga), with a texture and flavor intermediate between the two. When cooked and mashed, the color and texture would mislead many to think of mashed potatoes. John Gilfeather first began selling his farm-original rutabaga, calling it a 'turnip' (as rutabagas are often called in Vermont), in the late 1800's, jealously protecting his propriety by careful trimming of the tops and roots to prevent "unauthorized reproduction" of his genetic treasure.Fortunately for his Precious, some seeds eventually escaped Gilfeather's hoard, and were commercialized by a market farming couple unrelated to the Gilfeather family. The name was thereafter protected by a registered trademark until 1995, when the trademark was allowed to lapse. Such efforts to keep control of open pollinated seeds seem quaint today, when the dominant model of protection has become the legally heavy-handed Utility Patent.The genetic story is also interesting. The bachelor Gilfeather's "turnip" is actually an interspecies cross between a rutabaga (Brassica napus) and a true turnip (Brassica rapa). Such crosses are uncommon, but occur at a rate of 1% or less when the plants flower together in close quarters. Mr. Gilfeather's discovery likely resulted from keeping his own seed on the farm, and paying attention to the 'off-types' that can result from doing so.Grown Organically.
500 Seeds Per Package.
Vegetable Garden - Tips on Growing Rutabaga from Seeds
|Rutabagas grow best in cool weather. Sow rutabaga seed in the garden 4 to 6 before the average date of the last frost in spring. Sow rutabaga also in late summer for autumn or winter harvest. In mild winter regions sow rutabaga in autumn for winter harvest. Grow rutabaga so that it comes to harvest before temperatures average above 75°F; rutabaga requires 60 to 90 days to reach harvest. Rutabaga roots will become grow small and stringy in hot weather.|
Sow rutabaga seed ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Thin successful seedlings to 4 to 6 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Thinning is important so that roots have room to develop.
Give rutabagas regular, even water so that roots growing steadily. Do not let the soil dry out. Roots that grow too slowly will be tough. Sporadic watering can cause developing roots to crack.
Companion plants. Beets, carrots, turnips.
Container growing. Rutabagas can become quite large–often reaching 3 to 5 pounds–and are not a good crop for container growing.