Rutabaga, Major Dunne (Organic)

Brassica napus. 80 days.

Nicely proportioned, purple top rutabaga with smooth, uniform shape and golden skin. One of the most attractive rutabagas we have ever grown. Major Dunne retains excellent texture and flavor even when very large. Roots are more elongated than a typical rutabaga and stand tall in the field with big healthy leaves. The flavor is perfect for a roasted roots medley or mixing into a batch of mashed potatoes. With the bulbous roots just at or above the soil surface, it is also nematode resistant. Once a commercial variety in Northern Ireland, however said to be from Scotland originally. Introduced in 1959, now dropped from the European seed trade. Probably named in honor of an early flying machine pioneer before WWI, Major John William Dunne. Given to the Seed Ambassadors Project by the Irish Seed Savers. May also be known as Doon Major.

Seed produced by Saltwater Seeds near Sequim, Washington.

As required by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Washington Crucifer Quarantine, all Brassica family seed lots have been tested and found negative for blackleg (Phoma lingam) by an approved, certified lab.


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Geographical Origin

Direct sow March through August in rows that are 1’ apart. When seedlings are 3” tall, thin to 3” spacing for turnips, and 8″ spacing for rutabagas. Don’t forget to eat the greens! In our area, rutabagas can grow through winter without protection as long as the mice don’t find them. Only some varieties of turnip have the same hardiness. Both can be harvested in autumn and stored for many months in root cellar conditions.

Seed Saving

Collect seeds from 20 or more plants (to avoid inbreeding) in the second year when seeds have dried down. Cut seed heads, place on tarps to dry a few days, then dance to free seed. Winnow to clean. Isolate from other Brassicas of the same species by ½ mile for B. napus, and 1 mile for B. rapa (watch out for wild turnip!).

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What others are saying

  1. devon.brewer

    Solid and tasty variety

    devon.brewer (verified owner)

    Where did you grow this variety? Washington

    Major Dunne is the second best variety of rutabaga I’ve grown (I’ve grown several varieties; see Nadmorska for the best). It does get invaded by cabbage root maggots, but not nearly as bad as other varieties (sold by other sellers — Laurentian, American Purple Top, Helenor). It tends to be above average in size and tastes good, with a hint of sweetness. I harvested from November through February. I’ve prepared them only as steamed and dried. Note: many people do not like the pungent odor of raw or cooked rutabagas, so for family harmony, I no longer grow them.

    Grown in zone 8b, but it is more like 7a in recent years.

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