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Do you want to grow a fall crop that produces both root vegetables and flavorful, edible greens? Are you planning ahead for your early spring garden? Turnips are easy growers that are making a comeback as a popular multi purpose veggie.

Planting Tips

Mark your calendar for planting 2-3 weeks before your last Spring frost date, or anytime late summer for a fall or early winter crop.

Turnips thrive best in cooler temperatures, so plan for germination and the main portion of growth to occur when temperatures are around 50F to 60F. Turnip bulbs become woody when temperatures exceed 75F, or if they’re allowed to dry out.

Choose a site in full sun where the soil is loose to about 18″ deep. Turnips don’t transplant well and must be direct-seeded.

Prepare your soil by incorporating compost, especially if your turnips follow heavy-feeding crops like corn. If your soil is clay-heavy, add a bit of sand to improve drainage. Turnip seeds are tiny, so break up soil clumps with a rake or your favorite cultivating tool to prepare a smooth surface. Turnips prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8, so add amendments accordingly.

Plant seeds no more than 1/2″ deep in rows 12″ apart. Drop seeds in a line, about a half-inch apart, and cover with a thin layer of light soil. Another method is to use the tip of a trowel to cut a shallow furrow in the garden bed. Once seeds are sprinkled in, gently backfill the displaced soil.

Containers for turnips should be at least 8″ deep. While turnips do quite well in containers and raised beds, take special care to prevent the soil from drying out.

The best companion plants for turnips are pole beans and peas, and strongly-scented herbs like mint and rosemary planted around your turnips will help keep rabbits and deer at bay.

Care and watering of turnips

Keep soil moist to encourage sprouting, but don’t overwater. Seedlings will germinate and emerge within 10-12 days. Mulch around larger plants to help maintain soil moisture.

Thin seedlings to 4-6 inches apart if you’re focusing on bulb growth, or 2-3 inches apart if you’re simply looking for fresh greens.

Common turnip pests and diseases include mildew, flea beetles, and aphids, though many green thumbs swear that turnips help repel aphids from their gardens. Keep weeds away from turnip plants to increase airflow and proper nutrition to the plant’s roots, and inspect regularly for issues.

These hardy plants, if kept properly watered and weeded, tend to withstand light pest and mildew infestations.

Harvesting your turnips

Mature turnip tops reach 12-15 inches in height in about 55 days. You’ll know when they’re ready to harvest when the smooth, rounded tops emerge from the soil, only partially-shaded from the upright display of leafy greens.

Harvest your turnips by gently loosening the soil around the bulbs and firmly pulling from the ground, or lifting from beneath with a garden fork. If you plan on storing your turnip bulbs, take care not to break the thin skin.

Cut off the tops and store them in the refrigerator for a few days as you would other greens, and keep bulbs in a refrigerator for up to three weeks, or in a cool, moist root cellar for up to three months.

Deliciously nutritious

Both turnip greens and roots have a distinct spicy “bite” to their flavor. Turnip greens taste much like mustard greens, and when sauteed with a bit of chicken broth and bacon, provide a flavor sensation reminiscent of southern cooking. Substitute vegetable broth, a bit of garlic, some lemon and salt, and you’ve got a vegetarian alternative to the old collard-style recipe.

Baby turnip greens add snap to salads, sandwiches, and burgers with their mild flavor akin to radish. Try turnip bulbs as a substitute for home-made mashed potatoes, or added in with your favorite mashing spuds. Cube turnips for stews, or puree them for hearty winter soups with a garnish of shredded greens.

Brush cubed turnips with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and bake on a cookie sheet for an alternative to country-style potatoes, or add them alongside potatoes and carrots when you’re fixing your next roast.

Turnip greens at all stage of maturity are nutrient-dense vegetables. According to the online nutrition guide, World’s Healthiest Foods, fresh turnip greens are “high vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin B6,” and they are also “a very good source of potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, iron, and phosphorus. Additionally, they are a good source of vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, and protein.”

Turnip bulbs are a carbohydrate-rich source of energy and are a good source of vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium and copper. The root vegetable is also a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.

Turnips have a long history as a staple crop, for good reason. Their flavor and texture have chefs scrambling to add them to their menus, and farmer’s market vendors are thrilled to sell out of these once-neglected cool-season favorites. How will you use turnips in your kitchen?

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Making Your Own Fancy Facial Toner Is Easier Than You Think

To the uninitiated, toners may seem like a fancy, indulgent skincare product with no clear purpose. But the truth is that toners have been around for thousands of years, and working-class women have been making their own products for equally as long. A facial toner soothes, smoothes, and restores the skin, and it doesn’t need to have a paragraph’s worth of unpronounceable ingredients to be effective.

In fact, making your own facial toner is a lot simpler than you’d imagine — and as a DIY product, it’s cheaper and more sustainable.

Why Use Facial Toner?

Elaborate skincare routines have surged in popularity in recent years, and some of them can seem mighty excessive, but toners are one of those products that even the most basic, no-frills woman will appreciate. They hydrate the skin while also removing dead cells and excess oil from the surface, leaving you with a smoother, brighter skin tone. Ideally, you should use a toner right after you wash your face, but they also provide a great pick-me-up throughout the day — crucial in hot weather!

So why make your own? In short, because this is a truly simple product that doesn’t need to be bought in a store. You probably already have the basic ingredients in your kitchen.

These days, store-bought toners are much more gentle than they used to be, but they still often contain alcohols, synthetic fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients that you may not want on your precious face.

How to Make DIY Facial Toner

DIY facial toners utilize just one active ingredient: apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is not only a great toner, but it also has the added benefit of balancing the pH of the skin. Here’s how to turn it into a facial toner that meets your specific needs.

  1. Make the base.

Simply mixing apple cider vinegar with filtered water will get you the base for your toner, and the best part of DIY is that you can customize the formula for your skin type.

For sensitive skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water.

For normal/dry skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water.

For oily skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water.

It’s best to start with less apple cider vinegar, then work your way up; do a patch test to be sure.

You can also replace filtered water with herbal tea, such as green tea, if you prefer. Green tea is anti-aging and contains helpful antioxidants, but it does need to be stored in the fridge.

  1. Add customized ingredients.

Once you have your base, you can add other ingredients to your toner to customize it for your needs.

Flower waters: Add 1 tsp per 8 oz of toner. Rose water or orange blossom water are ideal candidates for this — they’re natural toners in themselves, they hydrate and cleanse the skin, and they’re anti-inflammatory.

Essential oils: Add 2-3 drops per 8 oz of toner. Your best two options are tea tree oil and lavender oil. Tea tree oil packs more anti-inflammation, while lavender oil soothes the skin (and smells wonderful). However, there’s an essential oil for seemingly everything under the sun, so feel free to branch out.

  1. Package your toner.

Once your ingredients are mixed together, store your toner in a sealed glass or plastic container. A spray bottle works well, but isn’t necessary. It doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge (unless you used tea in your recipe).

That’s it — you’re done!

To apply, simply mist directly onto the skin or apply using a cotton square. Apply after cleansing the face or to refresh yourself throughout the day.

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