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- Root vegetables.
- Closely related to each other.
- Large spherical tubers 10-20cm in diameter.
Turnips and swedes are cool climate vegetables. They are resistant to mild frosts and are grown from seed in moderately deep, well drained fertile soil. Seeds are sown in late summer to mature in autumn, or in autumn to mature in winter or spring. They have a relatively short growing period of 60-70 days for turnips and 100-120 days for swedes. Swedes and turnips are at their best when they have gone through a period of cold frosty weather.
Turnips have been grown since about 10,000BC. It was used for medicinal purposes as well as a food source. Today the turnip is valued for its distinctive flavour. Both the leafy stalks and the root can be eaten. The swede is a variety of turnip and is a relatively recent root vegetable, believed to have been developed in the 17th century.