Friday, November 27, 2009
The Mustard Family
Today’s photo shows some purple top turnips that are growing in one of our clover fields. A benefit of growing cool-season crops like the mustards is that they require almost no care. Planted in the late summer or early fall, the small plants have very little competition from other plants. If turnip seed is planted in late August or early September, there is a good chance of the plants producing the turnips at the base of the greens in the fall before winter's freeze. Both greens and turnips are delicious table fare; many prefer them cooked together. Turnip greens, seasoned with salt and a piece of pork fat, are a staple and delicacy in the South. If the mustard family vegetable plants, like turnips, mustard, kale, or collards, are left undisturbed in the soil in the spring, the plants will bloom and then produce seed. The blooming mustards are most attractive to honey bees, and the blooms are quite valuable at the honey bee’s spring population build-up time.