How to Grow Radishes
Growing Radishes In Your Backyard or Garden
Radishes are a staple in many backyard gardens. They're easy to grow, mature quickly and take up little space. Originally from China, radishes are in the same vegetable family as cabbage, kale, broccoli and collards.
Radishes are crunchy and tangy, while others are hot in taste. Spring radishes are the familiar small, round red radishes that are fast growing. They also can be pink, purple, white and bi-colored.
Winter radishes are Asian varieties that mature later in the season. Also called "daikon" radishes for the Japanese phrase "great root", winter radishes are long and narrow.
Radishes Are Easy To Grow
With the ability to survive light frosts, radishes will thrive in cooler temperatures during spring and fall. They require
- soil that drains well
- ample water
- full to partial sun
To enhance the radishes in your vegetable garden this year, try including vegetable garden soil like Jolly Gardener Premium Garden Soil.
Starting Your Radish Seeds
Sow the seeds about one-half inch deep in freshly worked soil. If using a broadcast spreader, Cover the seeds with a fine potting mix. Plant rows about eight to ten inches apart. Try planting double rows, leaving a wider row between them for easy access. Because they mature early in the growing season, radishes can be planted to mark rows. They frequently are planted among other vegetables that mature later to help loosen the soil.
Radishes usually germinate in three to 10 days. Once seedlings appear, thin them to two inches apart in all directions. Overcrowding from nearby plants or weeds prevents proper bulb development. Winter radishes mature in 55 to 60 days. Spring radishes mature in only three to five weeks. Children particularly enjoy planting the fast growing varieties. To have radishes throughout the growing season, stagger the planting over several weeks. Their fast growing nature makes it easy to try different seeds.
When To Harvest Radishes
Look for the radish tops to poke through the soil. Gently pull when they reach the proper size for the variety. Spring radishes are best at about an inch in diameter. Winter radishes can grow to two to four inches around and eight to 14 inches long. Harvest lasts only one to two weeks, so watch closely. Radishes turn spongy when left in the ground too long.
Once harvested, remove the green tops to prevent them from drawing moisture and nutrients from the bulb. Don't discard them, though. The tops are flavorful and can be used in a number of recipes. Store spring and winter radishes in the refrigerator for a week or two in an airtight container. Winter radishes last several months in cold storage.
Common Growing Problems & Solutions
Here are some problems that many gardeners have when trying to grow radishes:
- Radishes require several hours of direct sunlight each day for the bulb to fully develop. They must grow quickly to be tender and plump at harvest. Radishes are a cool weather vegetable that can turn bitter and tough in the heat of the summer. At those times, use netting to provide some shade or even consider planting them in partial sun.
- If the radish has a green top and underdeveloped bulb, the seeds might have been planted too thickly or the seedlings weren't thinned adequately. Sometimes radishes split open as they get mature. Cracking also could result from uneven watering. Over watering after a dry spell, for example, can cause the bulbs to grow too fast and crack open.
Radishes are known for their tangy flavor, and certain varieties are hotter than others. It's possible, though, for them to become too hot for some people's tastes. Since flavor is a function of growing time, too hot radishes usually are picked too late or developed too slowly.
Give us a call or come on in and we'll be happy to give you tips for growing vegetables in your garden this year. User our Store Locator to find your local store.