Radish is a salad vegetable that comes in many different varieties. There is the more traditional red, as well as purple and white varieties. One of the great things about radish is how fast some varieties grow – they take about 4-6 weeks in some climates.
Varieties of Radish
The main types of radishes are the salad or overwintering radishes, and the Daikon or Mooli radishes. The salad and overwintering varieties are appropriately named for their use in salad. The Daikon and Mooli varieties are frequently used in Asian cuisine.
Different varieties of radish have different climate requirements. They can be grown just about any time of the year in most climates. Check the packets of the seeds that you use or ask your local growers.
The soil should have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, so acidic soils may need to be limed. Prepare with rotted organic matter 3 weeks before sowing. Some varieties have long roots and will need deep soil, but otherwise they do not have particular soil requirements. Their site should receive plenty of sunlight unless the weather is scorching hot, in which case they should be slightly sheltered.
Sow seed in drills 1/2 inch deep (1cm) and 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) apart. As they grow they will require thinning to around 2-4 inches (5-10cm) apart. Keep 8 inches (20cm) between rows. It’s easy to sow seed every fortnight for a continual harvest.
The faster radishes grow, the better the taste. Supply lots of water but don’t let the soil be constantly soaked. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as they will cause too much leafy growth. Use a liquid fertilizer every fortnight.
Growing radishes in containers is very easy. Use a medium sized container with about 8 inches of depth. Use a potting mix and supplement with organic matter. Keep it in a sunny spot, water frequently and use a liquid fertilizer every fortnight.
Radishes are mature when the flesh is firm. Many varieties should be harvested as soon as possible for maximum tenderness, but overwintering varieties can be left in the ground until they are needed. Protect overwintering varieties with a layer of straw. Expect to harvest around 4-6 weeks after sowing. Very few varieties warrant leaving in the ground for more than 8 weeks.
Radishes are best eaten fresh but they can last in the refrigerator for a week or so.
Threats to Radishes
Bugs are the most likely problem. Keep an eye out for caterpillars, butterflies and aphids.