When to Plant Turnips for Deer: Maximize Your Hunting Success!

When to Plant Turnips for Deer

Turnips are an excellent food source for deer and can be a great way to attract them to your property. Whether you’re a hunting enthusiast or simply enjoy wildlife, planting turnips can provide both enjoyment and sustainability. However, it’s important to know the best time to plant turnips to ensure a successful harvest.

Understanding the Planting Season

The ideal time to plant turnips for deer is during the fall season. Turnips are a cool-season crop, meaning they thrive in cooler temperatures. In most regions, the best time to plant turnips is around late summer or early fall to allow the plants to establish before the first frost.

Choosing the Right Date

When deciding when to plant turnips, it’s essential to consider the average first frost date in your area. You can typically find this information from your local agricultural extension service or consult gardening resources specific to your region.

For best results, aim to plant turnips approximately 60 to 90 days before the first expected frost. This timeframe allows the plants to develop and establish themselves before the colder temperatures arrive. In general, mid to late summer is an ideal time to start planting turnips.

Preparing the Soil

Before planting turnips, it’s crucial to prepare the soil properly. Turnips prefer well-draining soil with a pH level between 5.8 and 6.8. Testing the soil in advance can help you determine if any amendments are necessary.

Make sure to remove rocks, weeds, and other debris from the planting area. You can till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches to ensure a loose and fertile bed for the turnip seeds. Adding organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, can also improve the soil quality and provide essential nutrients.

Sowing the Seeds

When it’s time to sow the turnip seeds, ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. You can use a garden rake to create furrows approximately ½ inch deep and 12 inches apart. Following the instructions on the seed packet, scatter the seeds along the furrows, leaving about 1 inch of space between each seed.

Afterward, gently cover the seeds with soil and lightly pat it down. Water the area thoroughly to provide the young seeds with the moisture they need to germinate. Keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot or other diseases.

Caring for Turnips

Once the turnip seedlings emerge, it’s essential to thin them out to avoid overcrowding. Remove weaker or excess seedlings, leaving only the healthiest ones to grow and develop properly. Proper spacing ensures good air circulation and allows the turnips to reach their full potential.

Regularly monitor the soil moisture levels and provide sufficient water when needed. Additionally, consider adding a layer of mulch around the plants to retain moisture, prevent weeds, and maintain a more consistent soil temperature.

Harvesting the Turnips

Turnips typically mature within 60 to 80 days from planting. However, you can start harvesting them as soon as they reach an edible size. You can pull up the young turnips or use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the mature ones and lift them out carefully.

It’s important to note that turnips become more appealing to deer after a frost since the cold temperatures enhance their flavor and sweetness. If you’re planting turnips specifically to attract deer, you may want to consider delaying the harvest to allow the plants to experience a few frosty nights.

Frequently Asked Questions For When To Plant Turnips For Deer: Maximize Your Hunting Success!

Q: How Do I Know When To Plant Turnips For Deer?

A: Plant turnips for deer in late summer or early fall, about 45-60 days before the first frost.

Q: What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Turnips For Deer?

A: The best time to plant turnips for deer is during late summer or early fall.

Q: Can I Plant Turnips For Deer In The Spring?

A: Spring planting is not recommended for turnips as they prefer cooler temperatures for growth.

Q: How Long Does It Take For Turnips To Grow For Deer?

A: Turnips usually take about 60-90 days to fully mature and become ready for deer to consume.


Planting turnips for deer can be a rewarding experience, providing both nutrition for the animals and a garden full of enticing wildlife. By understanding the ideal planting season, preparing the soil adequately, sowing the seeds correctly, and caring for the plants, you can ensure a bountiful harvest.

Just remember to choose the right date, keep an eye on soil moisture, and harvest at the most opportune time. With these steps in mind, you’ll soon have a thriving turnip patch that deer and other wildlife will be drawn to throughout the fall and winter months.

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