Who gives a rutabaga anyway
What follows is the timeline of the rutabagas at Trapper Creek.
Why rutabagas?? I like them. They are for the most part, resistant to root maggots. They keep in the row all winter and into spring with a minimum of care and fussing. Voles don’t eat them. Did I say I like love them? If they survive the winter, they send out copious amounts of tender flower stalks for early greens. I like easy, workhorse, non-exotic vegetables.
Plant in June.
Begin harvesting after first frosts.
Mulch and dig as needed throughout the winter.
For seed saving, rutabagas are biennial and need to go through a cold period and then be replanted the next spring in order to put on their flowers. Select at least a dozen plants that show the traits that you want, for replanting for seed saving. Replant the roots before new growth starts.
Rutabaga seed pods.
Brassicas are insect pollinated and rutabagas will cross with Siberian Kale. Either isolate plants that will cross or grow Kale for seed in a different year.
When the seed pods are dry (it takes all summer.) Pull the plants and let them continue drying in a covered area.
To thresh, I go the high tech way and put the seed pods in a feed bag and walk on it. It helps to do all this on a huge piece of cardboard or tarp to catch any stray seeds.
The finished product.
The entire process started June 2008, and was finished September 2009. From a dozen plants I have enough seed to last 3 -4 years, and if I had been more careful, I would have been able to harvest more. Birds helped themselves to plenty in the garden, and I lost a lot transporting them to the barn, but all in all the yield was quite good.
For more interesting food tips, healthy recipes and just general good sound food advice, check out Food Renegade’s – Fight Back Friday posting for September 18.