Swede; also known as Swedish Turnip or Rutabaga is a very hardy root vegetable that is, in fact part of the brassica family and thrives in cool and damp conditions. It is sweeter than Turnip and can be enjoyed in soups, casseroles, mashed with carrot and more.
Swede can be sown directly, or you can sow them indoors, in individual modular trays first to avoid root disturbance. Sowing times may vary dependent on the variety but generally, May-June is the best time to sow directly in the soil outdoors. If you have acidic soil, it is worth adding lime, as Swedes do not do so well in acidic soil.
Sow the Swede seeds thinly, approximately 1-2cm deep and once you have seedlings, thin them out until you have strong plants that are positioned approximately 20cm apart.
Swedes will require regular watering during dry spells, ensuring the soil is always damp to avoid a woody texture and split skins. Also, keep them weed-free.
Be aware of any pests and diseases associated with brassicas, such as club root and cabbage root fly and take the necessary precautions and treatment if need be.
This swollen stem will be ready to harvest in the autumn. However, like a root vegetable, it can be left in the ground over winter until they are required as they are very hardy and often, have a preferred flavour after frosts have happened.
Swede can be stored in the same way as a root vegetable; being covered and kept in a cool place.
Try our Root Mash recipe!