How to Grow Swedes


  • Sowing Instructions
  • Crop Maintenance
  • How to Harvest
  • Storage
  • Pests & Diseases

Sowing Instructions

  • Sowing Time: You can sow from mid March until mid July
  • Avoid sowing too early, ensure worst frost has passed
  • Sowing Location: Best to sow your swede seeds directly outdoors
  • Dig rows 1cm deep
  • Spread seeds very thinly along the row & cover with soil
  • Keep rows 30cm apart
  • Thin seedlings to 25cm apart once seedlings are large enough to handle
  • Remember to water in dry weather, keep moist

Crop Maintenance

  • Swedes are hardier than turnips & can over winter well
  • Swedes take longer to mature than turnips
  • A sunny site with good drainage is ideal
  • Deep, fertile soil with plenty of farmyard manure is required
  • Soil ph of between 5.5 and 7.5 is fine
  • Spread well rotted compost or manure on the soil the previous Autumn
  • A week before planting, lightly rake soil adding some growmore or fish blood and bone
  • Keep the soil weed free
  • Avoid allowing swedes from drying out, as drying out and rewetting can lead to roots splitting


  • Harvest after 20-24 weeks
  • Begin lifting roots when they are roughly the same size as a large orange
  • Swedes can tolerate some frost
  • Swedes will actually sweeten when left in frosty ground
  • Recommended to wait till after frost to harvest


  • Swedes will keep for 4-5 months if kept in a cold dark area, away from strong flavours or scents

Pests & Diseases

  • Swedes suffer from the same ills as cabbage
  • Slugs can eat foliage preventing root establishment
  • There are many slug control options from dried egg shells to copper tape
  • The fungus clubroot which is a common disease of brassicas can also infect swedes
  • Signs of clubroot include distorted, wilting leaves and misshapen & swollen roots
  • Pigeons can also eat swede foliage