The turnip comes from the plant family Brassicaceae, genus Brassica and species Brassica napus. It shares its family and genus with members of the cabbage family. The name "turnip" is often interchanged with "rutabaga." With this information in mind, some companion gardening ideas that apply to the cabbage or rutabaga family, also apply to the turnip.
Companion planting is when two or more plants are arranged in a bed or garden so as to provide each other with certain natural benefits. Sometimes one may deter an insect that is harmful to an adjacent plant. One might use less of a particular soil nutrient than its neighbor. Understanding how plants can work together or be harmful to one another is an important aspect in making the most of your garden.
Peas as Companions
Peas are believed to stimulate the growth of turnips. Peas can get nitrogen in ways other plants are not making a good companion for other plants which can only absorb nitrogen from the soil. Both are cool-weather crops, normally planted in the early spring, further contributing to their compatibility.
Aromatic plants that give off a strong scent repel some insects. As turnips are a root plant, root maggots are a particularly problematic pest. Root maggots are the larvae form of several types of flies and they feed on the roots of many vegetables. The scent of the onion, dill, celery, sage, peppermint and rosemary repels the adult flies, and they choose to lay their eggs elsewhere. Interspersing your turnips with any of these can protect your crop.
Very few plants are incompatible with the turnip. Most other plants have no effect on the productivity of the turnip crop. Only two vegetables are not recommended as companions. Turnips don't do well when planted alongside pole beans. They also don't grow well alongside another root vegetable, the potato.
Along with practicing companion planting, many gardeners follow crop rotation as it has similar consequences and benefits. Certain plants should or should not follow other plants in subsequent seasons because of nutrient or pest considerations. It is recommended that members of the cabbage family not follow turnips. They all use the same basic soil nutrients, and successive years of planting family members in the same location will deplete the soil of essential nutrients.
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