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Gardening Patch

Growing Radishes - advice on how to grow Radishes

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One of the quickest growing vegetables around, the radish has been a constant favourite amongst vegetable growers. The radish roots are commonly used to add a touch of 'hotness' to salads, sandwiches and pasta but the leafs and seed pods can also be added to salads.

Radishes are also good for your soil as they help keep it loose and aerated.

Preparation

Radishes will benefit from application of fertiliser before planting.

Sowing

Sow radishes in short rows at a depth of around 1 cm and about 2.5cm apart.

Stagger the sowing of your short rows (every 10 days) so that you have a harvest for the whole of the growing season, not a mass of crop all at one time which would be wasted.

Radishes can also be sown as markers or catch crops between vegetable such as carrots, beets or lettuces which have a longer growing season. The rapidly germinating radishes will indicate where you have planted and clearly identify where the row lies before the slower growing vegetables have appeared through the soil. You can then pull the radishes when they are ready for harvest before the slower growing vegetables need to be thinned.

Spring radishes should be planted from early spring whilst winter radish varieties should be planted from mid to late summer.

Position

Radishes can withstand mild frosts and prefer cool weather.

Hot weather can cause the radishes to bolt (flower) and this has a detrimental effect on root development as the plant focuses its energy on producing flowers and seeds.

Winter radishes have a longer growing season and tend to be larger with a more intense pungent flavour. Winter radishes can also be stored for a longer period - up to 60 days.

Soil type

Radishes will grow in most soil types although they prefer a moist soil.

Tending

Make sure to water summer varieties such as 'French Breakfast' regularly when rainfall is scarce as the roots require water to develop or else they can become woody.

Thin winter radishes to around 3 inches. Thinning can help to avoid keeping slow developing plants which tend to be more woody and hotter in flavour.

Check your radishes regularly to determine whether they are ready for harvesting, leaving them in the ground for a few extra days can result in the roots flavour becoming hotter and the texture more woody.

Harvesting

Radishes can be harvested anywhere between 20 and 60 days after sowing depending on variety.

Spring radishes can be harvested when the roots are around 1.5 to 3 cm in diameter. Remove all spring radishes that reach 5cm in diameter and eat or store in the fridge.

Once you have pulled the radishes remove the tops as these can cause water and nutrient loss from the root.

Radishes should store for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

If the soil is dry then water the day before harvesting to enable easy pulling up of the roots by the stalks. If not using the stalks in salads then add them to your compost heap.

Varieties

Various shapes of radish cultivar are available, round, oblong and tapered. Various colours also exist such as pink, red, white (japanese varieties).