1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Radishes - Growing Radishes in the Home Vegetable Garden

By

Growing Radishes

It doesn't take long to harvest a crop of radishes.

Photo: awottawa / stock.xchng

Overview:

When we hear radish, many of us think of small, round, red and tangy. By far, the most popular radishes eaten and grown fit this description. Although there are longer varieties and different color radishes, small round radishes are such quick and easy growers, they virtually define what a radish should be. Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferous family, along with broccoli, cabbage, kale and collards. If you like the tang of radishes, you should try eating the green tops.

Latin Name:

Raphanus sativus

Common Name(s):

Radish

Zone:

Size:

Varies widely with variety. Small globe shaped radishes are best when about 1" in diameter. The longer Daikon types can reach 8-14" in length and 2-4" in diameter.

Exposure:

Full sun to Partial Shade

Days to Harvest:

Depending on variety, 25 - 60 days.

Description:

Even the humble globe-shaped radish offers a good amount of variety. They can be round or oblong, hot or mild, red, pink, purple, white or bi-colored.

The Asian radish varieties are often referred to as “winter radishes”, because they mature late in the season and can be stored over winter. Daikon is a Japanese word meaning “great root” and some of these radishes can indeed become great in size, although not all Asian radishes are long. The black radishes tend to be the hottest. Don’t forget, the tops or greens of radishes are also edible.

Suggested Varieties:


Early Spring Varieties

  • 'Cherry Belle' - Round, Red (22 days)
  • 'Early Scarlet Globe' - Round, Red (22 days)
  • 'Easter Egg' - Oval, Mixed Colors ( (25 days)

More Heat Tolerant

  • 'French Breakfast' - Oblong, Red / White Base (23 days)
  • 'Icicle' - Long & Slender, White (25 days)
  • 'Rat Tailed' - Grown for its edible pods, not its root. (45 - 50 days)

Winter (storage)

  • 'China Rose' - Red Skin / White Flesh ((52 days)
  • 'Round Black Spanish' - Black Skin / White Flesh ((55 days)
  • Daikon - Long, White and surprisingly mild (60 days)

Storing Radishes:

Remove the green tops and store separately. Leaving them on will draw moisture and nutrients from the radish bulb. The globe-shaped radishes can be stored in the refrigerator, in plastic for about a week. Winter radishes will last about 2 weeks in the fridge or several months in cold storage.

Growing Tips:

Radishes are a cool season vegetable that can mature very quickly. The small, round varieties will get woody if grown in hot temperatures.

Planting Radishes

Radishes are direct seeded in the garden. They can be started very early in the spring, as soon as the ground is relatively dry, again towards the end of summer, for a fall garden, and even in late fall, with the protection of a cold frame. Radishes can be squeezed in between other plants and are good at loosening and cultivating soil for slower sprouting vegetables, like carrots.

Sow seeds 1/4 to ½ inch deep. You’ll want at least and 2 inches between plants, but seedlings can be thinned and eaten when they are an inch or two tall.

Maintenance

Since radishes are so quick growing, they don’t require fertilizing, although a rich well-draining soil is needed to begin with. Check size frequently, to harvest before they begin to decline.

To have a continual harvest, sow a new crop every 10 - 14 days, until it gets too warm.

Harvesting Radishes

Spring Radishes - The fast maturing, round radishes are ready for harvest in 3-4 weeks. You’ll usually see the top portion of the radish poking up through the soil. When it appears to be almost an inch across, it is ready to pick. Radishes can be harvested by pulling or by gently loosening the surrounding soil. Don’t let mature radishes sit in the ground or they will get either woody or spongy.

Winter Radishes - The long, Asian radish varieties take longer to mature, sometimes up to 3 months. They should be harvested before the ground freezes and can be stored for several months.

The thinned plants of all varieties can be used as salad greens or on sandwiches or floating on soups.

Growing Radishes in Containers

The fast growing, spring radishes grow quite well in pots and growing them this way is a good option if you are plagued by root maggots. They will need at least 4" of soil depth and lots of water.

Pests and Problems:

  • Cabbage Root Maggots are more of a problem in northern gardens, where they will tunnel into radishes.

  • Cutworms can also feed on radishes.

  • Flea beetles will make Swiss cheese of radish leaves, but don’t injure the bulb.

Monitor to catch these insects before they destroy the whole crop. You can avoid them almost entirely by growing your radishes under row covers.

Radishes decline in quality when the temperature warms. They can get tough and woody or spongy with hollow centers. Once a radish bolts, or goes to seed, the bulb stops forming.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.