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Growing Swedes

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This is one of the easiest vegetables to grow as sowing and looking after the plants is straightforward. Another reason why Swedes are grown so much is that they are ready for harvesting when no other crop is available.

Very similar to turnips, swedes are much tastier, the taste is milder and sweeter. The plants usually grow much larger than turnips meaning a much bigger crop is produced.

Soil Preparation

Swedes are best grown in a sunny location where the soil is firm, well fertile and non-acid. The soil should be firm therefore having been dug in autumn and not early in the spring.

Sowing and Planting

Sow the seeds thinly in rows which are 15 inches apart. It is best to sow the seeds at a depth of half an inch but if sowing the swedes early in the season you would be best to sow a tiny bit deeper. Cover the seeds with soil and water lightly.

Looking After the Plants

The most important job now is to thin the seedlings as they grow, the plants should end up being around nine inches apart.

Watering in dry weather is essential, a lack of water will result in plants that are extremely small and woody when cooked. It is also important when growing swedes to keep them weed-free, weeds look bad on an allotment or kitchen vegetable plot and will fight with your crops for water and nutrients.


You can begin harvesting swedes as soon as they are large enough to use, it’s not important to wait until they grow to their maximum size, I grow for taste, not size. You can continue harvesting them this way until early spring. In spring you should lift the last of the swedes and store them.

I store swedes by removing the leaves and placing them in boxes of sand making sure that the swedes within the box are not touching. These should be stored in a cold dark place until they are ready to be used.

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