Rutabagas grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Best root growth occurs in cool weather. Work the soil to a depth of 6 inches and remove stones and other debris that may deform the roots. Heavy soil causes poorly formed roots. The seed are planted 1/2 inch deep, in rows 18 inches apart, in early April. Plants are thinned to 8 inch spacings. A second planting can be made in early July to give a fall crop or a crop for winter storage. If other fertilizer was not applied, use 3 cups of 5-10-10 per 50 feet of row. This also applies to fall planted rutabagas since earlier crops used up spring fertilizer applications. Weed control is needed for a good crop. After thinning, the plants benefit from a 3 inch mulch.
Harvest as soon as the roots reach an edible size. Most roots are used when 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
Bolting is caused by prolonged cold weather after the plants were well along in development.
Long necks and small roots are common on early planted rutabagas subjected to hot weather and on slow growing plants.
Corky and pithy roots can be caused by too much nitrogen or hot weather.