Improvement status: Unknown
Seeds per packet: ~150
Germination tested 11/2020: 99%
Life cycle: Biennial
Rutabaga is a classic root vegetable in the Brassica family. It is believed to be the result of a (possibly naturally occurring) cross a long time ago between some kind of cabbage or kale (Brassica oleracea) and some kind of turnip (Brassica rapa). The species derived from this cross — Brassica napus — includes both rutabagas and other plants we call kales (like the 'Red Russian' types, and our favorite 'Blauwe Groninger'). Rutabaga roots are sweeter than turnips, with a darker color. They are excellent mashed, either alone or mixed with other roots like potato, sweet potato, or celery root. The leaves are also edible, and usually quite tasty, though they are highly underutilized. We are selling this variety as generic "rutabaga," with the variety name unspecified because we're not sure what it is! The original seeds came to Clint Freund and Cass McKinnon as 'Gilfeather', but they know what that is supposed to look like, and it's not this. It may be the common "American Purple Top" variety, but we have no way of knowing. It's a great rutabaga, with tasty leaves and roots, and it produced well for Kass and Clint in Wisconsin.
These seeds were grown by Kass McKinnon and Clint Freund of Cultivating the Commons.
NOTE: Full disclosure, the photo here is a royalty-free photo from the internet that shows a generic rutabaga, not one of these rutabagas. But you could probably grow one that looks just like this.
GROWING TIPS: Rutabagas should end up 4-8 inches between plants and 18-24 inches between rows. For bigger roots give them more space. Direct seed or preferably transplant in healthy starts as soon as you can, especially in shorter, northern climates. They can take a while.