Seven Top Turnips
Seven Top Turnip is the standard amongst lovers of Turnip greens throughout the Southern US, including in the gardens and on the table of Truelove Seeds' co-founder Chris Bolden Newsome's family in the Mississippi Delta.
Dating back to the 1830s in Virginia, this variety is an unusual turnip in that it does not grow an edible root, instead focusing its energies on creating lots of delicious leaves. While most turnips are grown for animal forage (roots and leaves), this leafy variety is grown in kitchen gardens exclusively for the human dinner table.
If eaten raw in salads, harvest at 6-9 inches. We harvest them for cooking greens, which you can do even when they are two feet tall.
Slow Food International has designated Seven Top Turnips as a culturally important and endangered variety in their Ark of Taste. They explain: "In southern cookery it was particularly favored in wilted salads, in which hot bacon grease and salt are poured over the fresh, washed greens." In our house, we simply sauté them with lots of onions, garlic, peppers, and seasoning, and often mix them with other greens, especially mustards.
Days to maturity: 45-75
Seeds per pack: 100
Germination rate: 63% on 002/21/2023 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
To start indoors, sow seeds up to 1/4" deep in potting soil 4-8 weeks before the last (frost for Spring planting), and transplant 1-2' apart just before the last frost. Plant again in late summer for Fall harvests. To direct sow, seed every 2-4" in rows 12" apart, 1/4" Keep watered until germination. Thin to every 12" for large leaves, or treat as cut-and-come-again baby greens. Harvest baby greens after 35-45 days, or allow plant to mature in 75 days.
Seed keeping notes
Isolate by 1/2 mile from other flowering members of B. rapa, including turnips, napa cabbage, mizuna, and bok choy to avoid unwanted cross-pollination. Allow seed pods to turn brown and dry before seed harvest. Protect from birds.