Radishes are easy to grow and care for in a home garden.
image by Linda N. / fickr.com
Radishes are a cool weather vegetable that can grow anywhere there is sun and fertile soil. Their small size and fast growth make them a popular first vegetable for children and a quick addition to the salad vegetables. They are ideal for small gardens and container gardens. Radish varieties vary from the small round spring radishes and larger carrot like winter radishes. The large white daikon radish is favored in Asian cuisines. The whole radish plant is raw or cooked.
Choose a site with plenty of sun and rich well-drained soil. Grow radishes in rows, beds, containers or between other slower growing vegetables.
Dig or spade the soil to loosen it in the early spring. Fertilize with a good general fertilizer, organic compost or well-rotted manure. In areas prone to root maggots, add wood ash to the soil as a preventative.
Sow spring radish seeds in short rows or in spaces between slow growing vegetables. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Plant several crops in succession, about two weeks apart. Plant winter radishes mid to late summer.
Water radish seeds thoroughly after planting and keep the soil moist but not wet. Consistent watering is key to growing radishes. Radishes that are allowed to go too long without water will be woody in texture and may split.
Thin spring radishes to 1 inch apart. Winter radishes need 2 to 4 inches apart. Radishes broadcast in beds should be thinned 2 to 3 inches apart in every direction. Plants removed during thinning can be eaten in salads or stir fried.
Watch for flea beetles. Flea beetles leave small holes in the radish leaves. Prevent flea beetles by covering the rows or dusting with Rotenone dust to control them.
Harvest spring radishes when they are about 1 inch in diameter and still young, before seed stalks appear. Old radishes become spongy and hot. Spring varieties are quick growing and take only 25 to 35 days to mature.
Winter varieties grow more slowly and can remain in the garden longer, especially in cool weather. Harvest winter radishes before the ground freezes.
Remove the greens and store radishes in the refrigerator. The greens can be eaten within a day or two, the roots will keep longer.