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Organic Gilfeathers Rutabaga


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Organic Gilfeathers Rutabaga

1 gram about 125 seeds, 85 days

Best harvested when 3-4" in diameter. Average plant was about 10 ounces.

A Vermont heirloom root crop with a long story as well as a long history. John Gilfeather first began selling his farm-original rutabaga, calling it a 'turnip' (as rutabagas are often called in Vermont), in the late 1800's, jealously protecting his propriety by careful trimming of the tops and roots to prevent "unauthorized reproduction" of his genetic treasure. Fortunately for his Precious, some seeds eventually escaped Gilfeather's hoard, and were commercialized by a market farming couple unrelated to the Gilfeather family. The name was thereafter protected by a registered trademark until 1995, when the trademark was allowed to lapse.

'Gilfeathers Turnip' leaves have the color and shape of rutabaga, with a good kale-like flavor. The root is shaped like a football rather than a sphere, lacks the purple top of both common turnips and rutabaga, has the color of a white turnip (as opposed to the yellowish flesh of common rutabaga), with a texture and flavor intermediate between the two. When cooked and mashed, the color and texture would mislead many to think of mashed potatoes.

This was a farm favorite here at Sustainable Seed in 2013: This is a really delicious versitile plant, the young green leaves can be eaten in stir fries. While the mature rutabaga can be used in many ways. For example I used them sliced them up adding them to stir fries. They are delicious baked with a little olive oil and spices. Also a great addition to soups or a perfect mash potato substitute. The greens can be stir fried or feed to animals, sheep love rutabaga tops.

Seed Planting Depth

Seeds per gram

Germination Temperature

Days to Germination

Row Spacing

Plant Spacing

100' Row Yield


½" - 1" 150-180 65-70 3-14 18"-24" 4-6" 60 lb. Full

Planting Tips for Heirloom Rutabaga:

Rutabaga is a cool wather crop and so this vegetable seed can be planted in spring or fall.  Sow heirloom rutabag in the ground 1 week or so before last frost date in spring or in autumn for fall harvest.  Rutabaga will generally take 60-90 days to be harvest ready.

These heirloom seeds can be planted 1/2 inch to 1 inch apart in furrows and then thinned to final spacing.  Make sure to water rutabagas regullarly so that water gets to the roots steadily.  Do not let soil dry out completely. 

Seed Care Tips for Heirloom Rutabaga:

Heirloom seeds are hardy but always take care with your garden seeds to give them the appropriate amount of moisture - not letting the vegetable seeds dry out prematurely or overwatering and possibly having them rot.


Hearty Rutabaga, Turnip, and Carrot Soup

yield: Serves 6

For a simple dinner, present this flavorful soup with some warm crusty bread and a mixed green salad.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled turnips
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled rutabagas
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 4 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add leek, celery and garlic and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes with juices and 2 cans broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.

Transfer 4 cups soup to processor. Puree until almost smooth. Return puree to pot. Add remaining 2 cans broth; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

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