If you are looking for a crop that is easy to grow and produces a steady supply of healthy veggies, try growing radishes.
Radishes are a hardy root crop that beginner home gardeners would love to add to their garden.
To start on the right track, the first thing you have to learn is when to plant radishes.
When to plant radishes? The best time to start planting this crop is in early spring or autumn. Radishes thrive in cool weather, so plant them two weeks before the last scheduled frost date in your region. Then, in as quickly as three to four weeks, you will have radishes ready for harvesting.
Choosing Which Radish Type To Grow
After knowing when to plant radishes, the next step is deciding the type of radish you want to grow.
You will find a long list of options, from open-pollinated to hybrid varieties.
If you’re new to gardening, you will have the best chance of success if you grow Cherry Belle radishes, which belong to the spring varieties.
This type of radish comes to mind when you think of radishes—red exterior, white interior, and a mild flavor.
Then, there are summer radishes. The problem is, they take a little longer to mature at around six to eight weeks.
Even longer to grow are winter varieties, taking up to 60 days to achieve full maturity.
These are sown in late summer or fall and will result in a winter harvest.
The root crop is starchier, larger, and sometimes extra spicier.
Examples of this type of radish are Champions and Daikon.
How To Plant Radish Seeds
Have you decided which radish variety to plant?
Your local garden center will most likely be offering the type of radish that would best grow in your area.
If you are unsure which to plant, you can always ask them for advice.
Once you have the seeds, follow these steps:
Step 1: Ready the planting site.
Pick an area in your garden that gets exposed to partial shade or full sun.
Radishes need plenty of sunlight but not too much that they go to seed.
The soil should be well-draining, loose, and free of rocks and debris.
You would also want to add your choice of organic matter to the soil, which could be leaf mold, manure, or compost.
If needed, you can also add agricultural lime or dolomite lime.
The goal is to achieve a pH soil level of 7.4 to fight the growth of clubroot.
It is a type of fungus that affects cole crops, causing them to rot, crack, swell, or even die.
Make these adjustments about a week before sowing your radish seeds to achieve the best results.
You can also perform a soil test to make sure the ground is the ideal condition for planting.
Step 2: Sow the seeds.
Radishes must be planted in rows that are about 12 inches apart.
Dig holes into the ground, with approximately an inch of space in between each.
The holes should be an inch deep. For bigger varieties, plant the seeds about one-and-a-half-inch deep.
Water deeply after planting.
Step 3: Thin the healthy seedlings.
If you planted spring radishes, you could expect the seeds to have germinated in about five days to a week.
Once they do, look for healthy seedlings and thin your radishes to achieve around two inches of space for each plant.
This way, they get enough space to grow and mature.
Provide a bigger growing space for bigger varieties.
How To Water Radishes
It is exciting to witness just how quickly these root crops grow.
This is where regular watering comes in.
If they don’t get enough hydration, radishes will develop a woody taste, which isn’t what you want.
Here are watering tips to follow:
Tip 1: Water regularly and evenly.
To make sure your radishes are growing at the rate they are supposed to, you would want to keep the soil bed moist.
If you adjusted the soil composition and made it well-draining and loose, it shouldn’t stay soaked.
Create a watering schedule so that you don’t allow the soil bed to dry out. If you do, the radishes could crack.
Radishes will grow well when watered four to five times every week.
Step 2: Add compost.
On the other hand, if the soil finds it hard to retain water and remain moist, all you have to do is add compost to the mix.
Step 3: Add mulch.
Aside from adding compost, you can also add mulch to cover the soil’s surface and keep it cool.
Mix in about two to three inches of mulch if the soil is too dry or its temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Grow Radishes
Though easy to grow, radishes still require ideal growing conditions to grow into healthy plants.
Here are more expert tips even beginner home gardeners like you won’t have a problem following:
Tip 1: Plant with other crops.
Radishes like being planted with other crops.
Not only do they help keep bugs off of their companions, but they also grow more quickly when you grow them together with other crops.
They grow well alongside cabbages, carrots, and parsnips.
Tip 2: Check for fungi.
As you water them regularly, also check for fungi to prevent serious plant diseases.
Watch out for Septoria leaf spots, downy mildew, and blackleg, which are all common fungi-related problems that radishes often deal with.
The best practice for preventing these diseases is rotating your radishes and keeping the soil bed free of weeds and dead plants.
Tip 3: Deal with problematic bugs immediately.
Radishes also sometimes deal with bug infestations, which can also happen because of weeds and plant debris.
Keep an eye out for root maggots, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and Harlequin bugs.
How Long Do Radishes Take to Grow?
Depending on the variety you choose to grow, radishes can take anywhere from 22 to 70 days to reach full maturity.
You will know they are ready for harvesting by checking the soil surface and seeing the roots have grown to about an inch in diameter.
Keeping them longer in the ground will result in spicier radishes.
To have a steady supply, give succession planting a try instead of growing them all at once.
Grown worldwide and consumed in almost every household, radishes are a great addition to any home garden.
You can use them in soups, pickle them, or eat them raw mixed in with your salad.
As long as you plant them in spring or fall, you will have more than enough to enjoy come early summer.