Radish is a root vegetable that produces a small crisp root with a peppery taste. It is a great choice if you want something that is both easy and quick to grow. When conditions are right, radishes can be ready for harvesting within 3-4 weeks.
The common way of eating radish is to eat the root, but the hole plant is actually edible and tasty – from root to leaves and seed pods – and can be enjoyed in various ways.
Planting radish seeds
Radishes are hardy and easy to grow, and you can even sow them between rows of other vegetables, such as beets and carrots, instead of dedicating a separate part of the garden to radishes. Avoid locations where they will be too shaded, however, because radishes need at least six hours of sun per day. If it is too shady, the radish will react by putting all its efforts into growing bigger leaves instead of making a big root.
Avoid planting in compact soil, as it is difficult for the roots to develop well in compact soil.
If the soil is clay, prepare it by mixing in organic matter to improve drainage before planting.
Avoid adding fresh manure since it is too high in nitrogen. With too much nitrogen, the plant will make a lot of leaves and neglect making a big root.
For most varieties, you can direct-sow seeds outdoors about ½ inch deep (10-15 mm) and cover loosely with soil. Some varieties are better sown deeper than this. Check the seed bag for information.
How much space?
Put each radish seed around 1 inch (25 mm) apart from the other ones.
There should ideally be 12 inches (30 cm) between each row.
Directly after planting, give the seeds a good watering. After this, keeping the soil consistently moist is recommended. Do not permit the soil to dry out and become cracked. Over watering can result in waterlogged soil that will make the roots rot.
In overly dry conditions, help the soil retain moist by adding mulch. Radishes respond well to compost mulch, especially if it has been enriched with wood ashes.
Weeding and thinning
- Weed frequently to prevent the radishes from being crowded by weeds.
- As soon as the radish plants are 2 inches (5 cm) tall it is time for thinning. Remove plants that are too close to each other, to make sure there are 3 inch (7.5 cm) spacings. Without enough space, the radish root will not grow well.
- You thin by snapping off the part that grows above ground. It is tasty and nutritious, and can be used in salads and on sandwiches.
There are spring varieties and winter varieties of radish. If spring radish is left in the ground for too long, the root will become tough and taste more starchy. A winter variety radish can on the other hand stay in the ground for several weeks after reaching maturity without turning bad, but make sure you harvest before the first frost.