Planting and growing radishes is the first thing I suggest for young or new gardeners. I want inexperienced gardeners to feel the thrill of success, and radishes are so easy to grow! It's the perfect starter crop.
Everything You Need To Know About Planting Radishes From Seed
As with all plants, the life of the soil determines the health and life of the plant. The secret to growing radishes is loose, slightly alkaline, well-draining soil.
Growing radishes in an overly fertilized bed will make for beautiful green tops but smaller, less tasty radishes. So be careful if you choose to fertilize your garden.
Growing Radishes from Seed
Radishes grow quickly from seed. Plant your seeds when the soil is moist but not saturated. If the soil is too wet radishes will split and may rot. If the soil is not kept moist, they will become fiery hot and bolt.
Sow the seeds about ½” deep and barely cover with loose soil.
I know the directions say, “plant three inches apart”, but those tiny seeds make this a difficult task. Just do the best you can and thin them as they grow. The greens are delicious in salads, soups, and on sandwiches.
Sun Requirements for Growing Radishes
Radishes only require 6 hours of sun a day, which means they’re shade tolerant - perfect for short winter days!
Winter Radishes vs Spring Radishes
Radishes are divided into two basic groups, winter varieties and spring varieties. If you live in a cooler climate, you could have success growing radishes year round.
Winter varieties are easier to grow. They aren’t in danger of bolting, so they keep longer in the garden. They have a better storage life and bolder taste than spring varieties.
In warmer climates, like gardening zone 8, you can leave them in the garden and only cover them when there’s a hard freeze to protect the green tops.
If you and your family really enjoy radishes, you could grow both winter and spring varieties. For either variety, you can keep the harvest going with succession planting. This means sowing some seeds every two weeks instead of all at once.
Spring varieties are more prone to bolting, so they won’t keep in the garden. They have a milder flavor then winter varieties.
There are a few long season spring varieties which can tolerate warmer temperatures than short season spring varieties so be careful to read the planting information before you purchase seeds to be certain you’re getting the best seeds for your garden.
If you plant a spring variety, do not plant once the daytime temperatures are 65 degrees or higher. Once it’s this warm, radishes will bolt which means they will go straight to seed production instead of crop production and taste too hot and pithy - yuck.
Growing radishes between other winter or early spring crops is ideal. Since radishes grow more quickly than larger crops, they will be finished producing before the larger plants need the space. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts are some I like to plant radishes with.
When To Harvest Radishes
Small radishes for eating can be ready at around 21 days after planting! By 70 days they should all be ready to harvest.
Knowing when to harvest your radishes is crucial to having the best tasting crop. Over maturing in the garden will produce hot, pithy radishes. No, thank you!
When you see radishes about 1” in diameter, you can pull one and taste it to see if you like the flavor at that size. If you prefer larger radishes, you can leave them to get larger, hotter, and more intense in flavor.
Thinning radishes doesn't waste anything because the greens are a delicious winter treat too.
Once the radish bulbs are developed, you can begin harvesting them when you want to eat some.
Radishes can be refrigerated for a few weeks to keep them fresh. I've also heard good things about pickled radishes!
Nutritional Value of Radishes
Growing radishes won’t supply a huge source of nutrition. They do contain some vitamin C and iron, but it would require you eating a lot of them to get any benefit of these nutrients.
Radishes are fibrous in nature and are used as a remedy for constipation especially when you eat the green tops along with them.
Once you pull them, cut off the greens. They’re good for juicing or use them as salad greens. Wash well in water and pat dry or let air dry.
Keep them in a vegetable bag in the refrigerator for up to a month, be sure to check them before eating.
Saving Radish Seeds
Radish seeds are as easy to collect as it is growing radishes. Choose two or three of the healthiest radishes and let them stay in the garden and bolt. Seedpods which look like small peapods will form. When they are fully mature or begin drying out, they are ready.
Put them in a warm, dry area and let the seedpods completely dry. Then shell the tiny radish seeds into a small pan.
Store seeds in a seed envelope or in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Be sure you write the name of the seed and the month and year on the seed container.
Pest Control When Growing Radishes
Radishes are used by some gardeners as a “trap plant.” This is a crop planted to attract pests away from a main crop.
Good crop rotation will help manage the root maggot which is the main pest for radishes. You can use diatomaceous earth sprinkled around your radishes or work wood ash into the soil to kill the root maggot as well. Otherwise, radishes are pretty much pest-free!
Container Gardening When Planting Radishes
Radishes are perfect for container gardening. They have a shallow root system so they can grow in almost any size container if it is at least one gallon of soil and wide enough to hold the size crop you want.
Be sure your container can drain well. Plant radishes in containers exactly the same way you would plant them in the ground!
Enjoy growing this tasty, no-fuss, and nutritious crop!
You might also enjoy:
- How to Plant and Grow Lettuce
- How to Successfully Grow Carrots
- How To Harvest and Store Sweet Potatoes
PIN THIS FOR LATER