Radishes are a cool-season, hardy vegetable which can produce a lot of crops every season due to its rapid days to maturity. They can be planted in both the fall and the spring, however, growing should be suspended in the warmer months. Radishes are a very easy vegetable to grow.
This vegetable is one great root vegetable to include in your garden. They are great in pastas and salads. Radishes do not take up a lot of space in the garden either because you really do not need to plant a lot of them. Therefore, in case you are asking yourself, “How do I grow radishes,” you will find some great planting tips in this article.
When to plant
Sow salad radishes in spring, at 10-day intervals starting 2 weeks before your last spring frost, continuing to 3 weeks after your last frost date. You should sow rat-tail radishes around your last spring frost date. Sow all types of radishes in fall, at two-week intervals starting 8 weeks before your 1st fall frost, continuing up until 3 weeks before your first frost date.
How to plant
Loosen the soil six to ten inches deep when you are preparing the planting bed, and mix in well-rotted manure or good compost. Sow seeds one inch apart and a half inch deep, in rows which are spaced twelve inches apart. Once the seedlings appear, thin salad radishes to three inches apart, and in case of oriental radishes, thin them eight to ten inches apart. When sown in 60-degree soil, seeds normally sprout in 3 to 7 days.
Pest and disease prevention tips
Flea beetles can make a lot of small holes in radish leaves. Cutworms and cabbage root maggots sometimes rasp channels or holes into radish skins. The good news is that all of these pests can be easily prevented if you cover the plants with lightweight floating rowcovers. Some radishes will rush to produce flowers (bolt) before they develop plump roots when sown early and exposed to cold weather. However, bolting is rare in radishes which are grown in fall and late summer.
Harvest and store
Cool radishes right away when you pull them in warm weather, by dropping them into a pail of cold water. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to remove the leaves and then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. When it comes to large oriental varieties, you can leave them in the ground well into fall and dig them just before the soil freezes.
Once salad radishes are bigger than grapes, you are free to harvest them. Radishes which are left in the ground too long develop a pithy texture and usually crack following heavy rains. Spicy flavor compounds, similar to those found in horseradish, can be developed if the radish is exposed to hot weather.
Allow 3 or more plants to bloom together to save seeds from open-pollinated varieties, and wait until the seed pods dry and turn brown before you harvest the seeds. Use your hands to crush the pods, sift or winnow them to separate seeds from chaff, and store the seeds in a dry, cool place for up to 5 years.