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Kitchen Garden

Pursuits | By Simon Courtauld


It may be that turnips are best sown in spring, but I forgot about them this year until the beginning of August. That’s when I made a sowing of Purple Top Milan – which, according to the seed packet, was not too late.  I hope we shall have some turnips of golf-ball size to pull up in early October, but, at the time of writing, the leaves have been suffering an attack of flea beetle. Turnips are generally easy to grow – they should be thinned but not transplanted – and when left in the ground will withstand very cold temperatures. They were popularised in England some 300 years ago by Viscount Townshend, theWhig statesman who became better known as Turnip Townshend when he retired from politics to grow many acres of turnips in Norfolk, to feed both the peasantry and his sheep.  In Roman times, the turnip was held...

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