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Turnip Companion Plants

When it comes to companion planting turnips, there are some plants you'll want to keep close by, and others you'll want to avoid. This article will give you some great ideas for turnip companion plants!

Turnip plants are biennials in the mustard family. They have a sweet, peppery flavor with white flesh; they're great roasted or mashed as an alternative to potatoes. Turnip greens are also edible, with a similar peppery flavor, making them great for adding to salads or sandwiches.

They are a hardy cool weather crop that grows well in spring and fall. The roots can be harvested as soon as they reach about two inches in diameter, but the longer you let them grow, the larger they become.

Turnips are a lot like rhubarb, in that they are a great companion plant for many other plants, but the benefit is not always reciprocated!

Turnips in a basket.

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What Is Companion Planting And What Are The Benefits?

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves growing two or more plants together for mutual benefit. The plants can be grown in close proximity to each other, ie, intercropping, or they can be planted in alternating rows.

The benefits of companion planting are many. Properly chosen companion plants can help each other grow better, provide natural pest control, and produce more food. Some plants naturally repel destructive bugs, or entice pollinators, or attract beneficial and predatory insects to the vegetable garden. We might as well use them!

Turnip plant in the garden.

Best Companion Plants For Turnip

Brassicas:

Brassicas like broccoli, kale, and cabbage are great companion plants for turnips, more for the other veggies than the turnips! The turnips attract aphids, slugs, and other hungry munchers away from the cabbage and kale.

Broccoli plant.

Garlic:

Garlic flourishes when interplanted with turnip, as turnip roots help to deter borers that target garlic. While the garlic helps deter aphids, onion fly, and hungry beetles from attacking your turnips.

Garlic plant.

Peas + Beans:

Peas in particular are fantastic garden buddies for turnips! Beans and peas are nitrogen-fixing plants, so plant turnips near peas or pole beans for natural fertilizer and growth booster.

As an added bonus, peas occupy a different growing space, as they grow upwards while turnips send their growth down below the surface.

Pea plant.

Nasturtiums:

These pretty flowers are a good companion plant for lots of vegetables, but they really excel with turnips. Nasturtiums are a great deterrent for aphids, cabbage worms, and other pests that like to munch on your turnips.

They also attract ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on many garden pests.

Nasturtium flower with a bumble bee.

Mint + Catmint

Mint and catmint (also known as catnip) are two herbs that are great companion plants for turnips. Mint's strong scent repels flea beetles and aphids that like to snack on turnips. Mint, surprisingly enough, is great at attracting earthworms which are excellent for soil health and predatory wasps that help control pest populations.

Mint and catmint can be invasive, so the best option for this flavorful herb is to grow it in containers near your turnip patch and use chopped mint as mulch.

Mint plant in a pot.

Thyme:

Thyme helps to repel the cabbage whitefly, a garden pest that loves turnips.Thyme also helps your vegetable garden by attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, so this is a win-win in the companion planting department!

Fragrant herbs like mint and thyme also help to repel hungry foragers like rabbit and deer.

Thyme plant in a pot.

Worst Turnip Companion Plants

Potatoes:

Because both potatoes and turnips store their starch in underground organs, tubers and roots, they'll compete for space. It is best to avoid planting these two root crops close together as they'll stunt each other's growth.

Potato plant.

Onions:

Onions are a great companion for so many plants, like rhubarb and arugula, but they aren't great for turnips. Like potatoes, onions store their excess starches in underground storage organs, this means the turnips and onions will be competing for growing space. Planting onions near your turnips is not recommended, but if you'd like to get the benefits from having onions nearby, they can be safely planted a couple of feet away.

Onion plant.

Final Thoughts

Turnip companion planting is also a great way to maximize your gardening space and increase plant production. By planting some of these beneficial plants, like peas and mint, near your turnips, you can help keep pests away and attract beneficial insects to your garden. I'd avoid planting potatoes and onions near your turnips, as they may stunt the Turnip's growth. With a little bit of planning, you can easily have a bountiful Turnip harvest!

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Best and worst turnip companion plants pinterest graphic.