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Rutabaga, Burpee's Purple Top

Short Description

Good served with roast pork or beef or mashed with potatoes!

Full Description

Large, smooth, globe-shaped roots with deep purplish-red tops above ground and light yellow below. Sweet, fine-grained yellow flesh turns bright orange when cooked. Prefers cool weather and is best grown as a fall crop. Ready 90 days after seed sowing.
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

90 days

Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.

4-6 inches

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

7 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

12-14 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Direct Sow

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  • Rutabaga

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Mar-28 - Last Date: May-02

How to Sow

  • Rutabaga prefers cool weather and is best grown as a fall crop. Sow seeds average soil in full sun in late summer.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones. Rutabagas develop large roots so make sure the soil is loose at least 6-8 inches deep.
  • Sow seeds thinly and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil.
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days depending on weather conditions.
  • Thin to stand about 6-8 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
  • Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • Rutabaga may be harvested from autumn onwards, once the root is large enough, about 4-5 inches in diameter.
  • The globes are often easy to pull from the soil.
  • Roots may be kept all winter in a cold cellar, covered with slightly moist earth.
  • Rutabaga may be cut into cubes and blanched and frozen. They may also be canned.
Days To Maturity
90 days
Fruit Size
4-6 inches
Full Sun
7 inches
12-14 inches
Sow Method
Direct Sow
Planting Time
Fall, Summer
Sow Time
Before First Frost
7 inches
Life Cycle
Rutabaga, Burpee's Purple Top is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 6.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Impressed - Poor Germination Planted roughly 40 seeds in early spring, 2-3 weeks before the last frost. I had two seeds germinate successfully. The only reason I gave this two stars is I MAY have been at fault because I've never plated rutabaga before. Will likely not plant this variety again in the future.
Date published: 2019-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Grew Well Simple, and grew so well with little effort. Really enjoy rutabagas for beef stew. Yield was excellent, and the tops are a bit like turnip tops when they are young.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rutabaga's rule No need to rush into planting them, They do best when hit by a frost. I pull mine in mid November for the most sweetness. Definitely best after several good frosts, like the kind that wilt the leaves in the morning. I no longer grow turnips as these are better by far. They hold well in a cool cellar, even if they get a little soft they are still excellent. We like ours with Maple Syrup, butter and Brown sugar. Just cook till tender to a fork and mash. I have very poor soil here, 3" of top soil, and they grow to full size every time. Seem to like my hard pan. If you haven't tried these you are missing out. I harvest sizes from a soft ball to a small bowling ball. My fertilizer choice is 5-10-10. After they get established weeding is kept under control by their foliage. Thin to about 6" apart.
Date published: 2015-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great Rutabaga First time planting this seed and had better luck then any other I have tried in the past 20years. Very good size and the taste is unbelivable even better after the first frost hit. Will continue using this seed from now on.
Date published: 2014-09-20
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Rutabaga Will not buy these seeds again. I have planted them 3 different dimes from fall to spring and have no turnips. The seeds germinate and then they die.
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Delicious Healthy Forgotten Old School Vegetable I started growing these again after realizing that this is a delicious and very healthy old school root vegetable which as been forgotten by most people today! My grandparents grew these every fall along with turnips, but never mixing the two either in the garden nor in the pot. Of course you can eat turnip roots or greens, but I don't find Rutabagas greens to be palletable at all, so I cut them off and discard them. But the flavor of rutabagas is a pungent (like a turnip, but not as strong)yet sweet & buttery (kind of acorn / butternut squash-like) flavor which matches their light orange yellow flesh. They are very dense and you'll need a super sharp knife or cleaver to cut them into bite-sized cubes. A regular potato or cuke peeler will do on peeling the fiberous skin layer from them. If you've seen them in the produce section of your local grocery store, you'll notice that, like yucca, they are often covered in a thick layer of wax. That's because the flesh can oxidize, turn dark, and perish very quickly once cut into. A little lemon juice in the water as you cube these will keep their color nice and bright. If you plan on storing some for other days, they freeze well once cubed and allowed to sit in acidulated water for 15 minutes, then taken out and put immediately into ziploc bags and into the freezer. For cooking, fry some diced thick-cut bacon or pancetta along with some onions, let bacon get done and onions get translucent. Use chicken broth instead of water, two fingers over the diced rutabagas. Let come to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce to medium low heat. Add salt & pepper, a few pats of butter, and some sugar for balance. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, then uncovered until the liquid is just under the level of rutabagas and they are fork tender. (Taste for more salt & pepper to your taste) They are a great side dish with pork or beef or even lamb. You grow these in the same soil conditions as your would for turnips, carrots, beets, etc. Never mix with them though and always space each bulbous species of vegatable about four feet apart from each other or even grow in separate beds. My grandparents used to say that they release certain toxins (turnips, rutabags, beets and carrots ) when grown all together. As for the distance between rutabagas, I'd say 6 inches apart should do it. ~Enjoy!!~
Date published: 2010-10-25
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