Swedes

swedeSwedes are a hardy winter root vegetable. They contain more nutrients than turnips with higher sugar content and take longer to mature but they also keep much better too.

Soil Preparation
Swedes will grow on most soils providing it is well cultivated. It does best in soils, which were well manured, for a previous crop; soil should not be manured just prior to this crop being sown.

If the ground is not already alkaline it should be limed because Swedes are liable to clubroot disease.

Clubroot disease thrives in wet acid soil so improving the drainage and adding lime to increase the pH will help to reduce the disease making conditions less favourable.

If you have had problems, dispose of any infected plants but whatever you do with them do not put them on the compost heap.

After forking over the soil lightly, tread the ground making it firm, and then add fish manure at 3 oz. (90g) to the sq. yd. If the soil is not limy, give carbonate of lime at 6 oz. (180g) to the sq. yd. as a top dressing.

Sowing
In May sow thinly in drills, which are 1 ½ ft. (45cm) apart, at a depth of 1 in. (25mm) Later thin out to allow the seedlings to be 1 ft (30cm) apart by the time they reach 1 in. (25mm) high.

General Care
Keep down the weeds by hoeing and make sure that they are kept well watered.

Harvesting
This vegetable is so hardy that it can remain in the ground over winter. They can be stored if the winter is expected to be hard with heavy frosts, making digging in the garden to collect some winter vegetables a particularly unpleasant task. Store a few in boxes in a dry shed in the same way as potatoes.