The turnips are ready for thinning at Cregneash Folk Museum

By Culture24 Staff | 29 June 2009
  • Archived article
photo of a group of men on their knees in a field

(Above) A Turnip Thinning Competition at Cregneash. Courtesy Manx National Heritage

The annual Turnip thinning competition takes place at The National Folk Museum at Cregneash, Isle of Man on Saturday July 4.

Sown in May, the turnips are now ready to be thinned – requiring a 9-inch space between each plant. The activity once took place throughout the Island at this time of year and involved the whole community, as the turnip crop was very important to the Manx farmer as a cash crop and most importantly for feed for the livestock for the long winter.

"Traditionally, people thinned turnips on their knees and 'crept' along each of the ridges pulling out the plants that were not required," said Pete Kelly, Cregneash Farm Manager for Manx National Heritage. "Sacks were tied to their knees to provide protection from sharp stones!"

This year, the turnips at Cregneash will be used not only for feeding the sheep and cattle but also for the annual Hop Tu Naa event when they will be used to make lanterns.

All are welcome to enjoy this hands-on experience of Manx farming life. Registration is at 2pm when all competitors will be issued with a row of turnips to thin and traditional sacking for their knees.

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