Growing Radishes at Home
Growing radishes at home takes only a little space from your yard. They are quick to grow and germinate easily from seed. Radishes have a peppery flavour perfect for adding to your favorite salad.
Radishes are an annual root crop which come in many different varieties with different colors and sizes. Their shape can be global to cylindrical with tapering ends while their color can be red, white, pink, purple or green usually with white flesh.
Radish Companion Plants
Radishes make great companion plants as their odour deters many pests such as aphids and ants. They will also attract some bugs away from the other plants without harming the radish.
They can be planted with cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, parsnip, and peas. Radishes can also be useful planted in annual flower beds where aphids are a problem.
Some varieties will grow better in the spring and summer while others prefer the cooler weather. Consider growing radishes under shade cloth or in a position with afternoon shade during the warmest part of the year for the best results.
Be aware that they must be picked as soon as they mature especially in warmer weather or they can bolt and produce a flower stem. They are too tough and bitter to eat when this happens.
Some will mature within a month in the right growing conditions whereas other larger varieties may take a few months to mature. Most crops will mature in 3 to 4 weeks but may take up to 7 weeks in cooler weather. The flesh of the radish should taste crisp and sweet but will be bitter if left in the ground too long.
Growing Radishes from Seed
Radishes prefer a location in full sun with free draining soil. Sow seeds direct in their final position.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Radish Seeds
- Trowel This ergonomic award winning trowel from Radius Garden reduces wrist stress and is top rated. (Paid link)
- Potting Mix
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Liquid Fertilizer
How to Grow Radishes
Prepare the Soil
Dig the soil at least twice the depth of the length of the mature radish. Smaller global radishes will need a depth of 8 inches (20cm). Add a few handfuls of compost or aged manure then dig in well. Improve heavy soils with potting mix or dolomite.
Plant the Seeds
Make rows with your trowel 10 inches (25cm) apart then place the seeds 2 inches (5cm) apart in the rows. Larger radishes will need more space. Refer to the packet directions. Cover the seeds with inch (1cm) with soil then keep moist.
Seedlings will emerge within 4 days but may take longer depending on the weather conditions. Thin out when second leaves emerge.
Plant seeds a week apart for continuous crops. Fertilize with liquid fertilizer every two weeks for the best results. If they mature quickly you may only need to fertilize once halfway through the growing time.
Check the Size of the Radish
It is best to harvest radishes when they are young. Check the size by gently pushing away the soil to see the top. Remember if you leave them too long after the required time to maturity, they will be bitter. They may not reach the full size when mature if you are experiencing difficult weather conditions but they will still be good to eat.
To harvest your radish; insert your trowel beside the radish pointed straight down then gently angle the trowel towards the roots to loosen. Grab the leaves at the base then lift the radish out of the ground.
Are you looking for radish seeds? This quality pack from Seed Needs contains six different varieties in separate packs. (Paid link)
Storing Fresh Radishes
Radishes you have just harvested can be placed in a bowl of cold water with the roots and radish in the water and the leaves hanging over the sides. They will stay crisp for 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days if you place the bowl in the fridge.
Another method is to brush off the dirt with a soft brush then cut off the leaves close to the base. Place the radishes in a zip lock bag with a damp paper towel at the bottom. Close the bag removing any excess air then place in the fridge, preferably in the crisper drawer. They will keep for 1 to 2 weeks.
If you would like to avoid using plastic try using a clean recycled glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Place the washed radishes with their tops and roots removed into the jar. Cover with cold water then secure the lid. Place in the bottom part of your fridge. They will keep for up to 7 days.
Growing radishes at home is a great way to get children involved in the vegetable garden as they can see the results of their efforts in a short amount of time.
They are also a must have for an organic vegetable garden and are especially good at keeping pests away from cucumbers.
Are you a homebody? This Homesteading guide gives ways to make the most of your home.
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