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It took me a while to warm up to radishes. But now, I find them a tasty snack. Not only do I add them to salads, but I also love roasting radishes and topping them with lemon butter. It’s one of my easy, go-to dishes.
Radishes are a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
They make a great, easy addition to any garden. They add a tasty crunch to cold dishes but mellow out in warm recipes.
Radishes are root vegetables. This means the root, which is larger and fleshier, is the part usually eaten. Radish tops are also edible. I’ll often add them to salads.
Because they’re quick growers, radishes are a great starter vegetable for beginners and children. And for any parents hoping their child finds a love of gardening, my article on growing your child’s green thumb has some good suggestions.
- Nutritional Information
- Common Radish Varieties
- Planting Your Radishes
- Type of Soil
- Light Requirements
- Watering Your Radishes
- Maintaining Your Radishes
- Harvesting Your Radishes
- Pests That Affect Radishes
- Diseases That Affect Radishes
- Radish Recipes
How to Plant and Grow Radishes
1. Nutritional Information
Although radishes aren’t a nutritional powerhouse, like any veggie, they’re still good for you.
Radishes are low in calories and a good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. According to Nutrition Data, 1 cup of sliced radishes has 18.6 calories and the following nutrients,
- Vitamin A, 8.1 IU
- Vitamin C, 17.2 mg
- Vitamin K, 1.5mcg
- Folate. 28.0 mcg
- Calcium, 29.0 mg
- Magnesium, 11.6 mg
- Phosphorous, 23.2 mg
- Potassium, 270 mg
2. Common Radish Varieties
There are spring and winter radish varieties.
Spring radishes tend to be smaller and grow quickly. Think of those little, round red globes you see in a grocery store.
Winter radishes, on the other hand, are larger and take longer to mature.
Here are a few tasty options in each category.
Cherry Belle – Cherry belles are round and smooth, with a scarlet color. The flesh is white and tangy. They’re great for salads and soups.
Pink Beauty – A pink beauty has a crisp texture. They’re a bit sweeter than other varieties but still maintain a delicate spice. This radish is more resistant to pithiness.
French Breakfast – French breakfast radishes are small to medium in size and have an elongated, cylindrical-like appearance. They’re two-toned in color, with bottoms of red and tips of white. Their flesh is white, succulent, and crisp, with a mild, peppery flavor.
China Rose – China Rose is one of the oldest types of radishes. They’re a rose-colored, hardy variety that grows about 5” long.
Black Spanish Radishes – Black Spanish radishes are large and round, with black skin and white flesh. They have a stronger, hotter radish flavor and are good in salads and stir-fries.
Alpine Daikon – Alpine daikon radishes are white with green shoulders. They grow about 6” long and are sweeter than the other types of Japanese radish varieties. Alpines are good for kimchi recipes.
The above is just a sampling of the different radish types. To find additional ones, take a look at this article from Home Stratosphere.
3. Planting Your Radishes
Radishes will grow in hardiness zones 2 through 10.
They’re a cool weather plant. Which means, they’re usually planted in spring and fall. But, in hotter zones, 7 or higher, you can grow radishes throughout the winter. In these warmer zones, though, don’t plant your radishes during the height of summer.
In general, April is a good time to plant spring radishes.
Sow your seeds about 4 – 6 weeks before you expect the last spring frost. But avoid planting spring radishes later than a month before daytime highs reach 80℉. Temperatures this high are too warm for radishes.
If you want to know more about gardening in general, then check out my how to garden guide. You’ll find it very helpful.
In the fall, aim for a September planting. Sow winter radishes about 4 to 6 weeks before you expect the first fall frost. Generally, avoid planting winter radishes any later than 8 weeks before the ground entirely freezes.
My article on if it’s too late for radishes has more information about when to plant radishes.
With either spring or winter radishes sow your seeds outdoors. Plant them roughly ¼ to ½ inch deep and about 1 inch apart.
Because spring radishes are quick growers, they’re suitable for succession planting. This means planting a second crop about 10 days after the first crop. This way, you’ll have radishes throughout the season.
You can also sow spring radishes between larger rows of other vegetables, or in a pot around other vegetables.
Radishes make good companion plants for broccoli, spinach, pole beans, and peas.
4. Type of Soil
Radishes like well-draining, loamy soil. But, although you want rich soil, you don’t want it too rich. So, don’t add any fresh manure or compost to your radish soil.
Too rich a soil will produce lots of thick radish tops at the expense of the roots. And the roots are what you’re aiming for.
Radishes like slightly acidic soil. To help with this you can work in a bit of peat moss into the soil.
As a root veggie, your radish needs to be able to break through the soil in order to grow. This means you don’t want compacted soil. If the soil’s too hard your radishes won’t be able to expand.
Before planting, work your soil with a hoe or trowel. The goal is to loosen the soil about 8” – 10” down.
When planting in a container, look for one that’s at least 6 inches deep for spring radishes, and about 10 – 12 inches deep for winter radishes.
5. Light Requirements
Radishes do best in a bright, sunny spot. In general, they need at least six hours of sunlight per day.
If you’re going to plant during summer, you’ll need to protect your radishes from the hot midday sun. For example, a spot that’s bright in the morning, but shaded in the afternoon.
6. Watering Your Radishes
Once you plant your radish seeds, water them thoroughly. Aim for a good soaking several inches down.
After that, radishes need roughly an inch of water per week, from either rainfall or watering.
With radishes, consistency is key. If your radishes become too dry they can become pithy and cracked.
7. Maintaining Your Radishes
One of the most important things to do with radishes is to thin them out once they start sprouting.
If you don’t thin your radishes, they can easily end up with them crowding each other out. And if this happens, they won’t form a proper bulb.
Start the thinning process about a week after planting, once the tops are about ½ to 1 inch high.
Thin them so they’re 2 to 3 inches apart. Larger radishes will need more space, even up to 6 inches apart. Make sure to look at and follow the seed package directions.
And don’t throw away those tops!
Radish greens, even small ones, are a tasty bonus you can add to dishes.
Throughout the growing season, continue checking your radishes for the need to thin. With young seedlings is easy to miss a few radishes that have been planted too close together.
With winter radishes, especially, keep an eye on weeds. Weed often. Because spring radishes are fast growers, weeds may not be as much of a problem.
Fertilizing radishes is not absolutely necessary. But, if you do want to fertilize it’s important not to use a fertilizer with too much nitrogen (N). Nitrogen is the first number on the fertilizer package. So make sure this number is low.
When radishes are given too much nitrogen, you can end up with leafy lush tops, but no radishes.
8. Harvesting Your Radishes
As radishes grow, you’ll see the top part, or their “shoulders”, pushing through the soil. This indicates it’s getting close to harvesting time.
I always recommend picking every second radish. This way you’ll be able to create more space between the radishes left in the ground. And this means they’ll have more room to grow.
Spring varieties are fast growing. They take roughly 18 to 45 days to mature, with most averaging around 25 to 30 days.
It’s important you pick your spring radishes before the weather becomes too warm.
If you don’t, the radish can become hotter and woodier. And it will develop an unpleasant taste.
Too, the warmer weather means there’s a greater chance your radishes will bolt. In other words, they’ll go to seed before you have a chance to harvest them.
Winter varieties are longer growing than spring varieties. They can take anywhere from 45 to 70 days to mature.
And you can leave winter radishes in the ground longer. Rather than becoming woody or unpleasant tasting, they’ll actually become sweeter and juicier.
Radishes can survive a frost, so it’s okay to leave your winter radishes even if the weather is turning cold.
But, harvest them before the ground freezes completely. If you wait and the ground freezes then your radish may freeze. This can lead to a mushy, inedible radish.
9. Pests That Affect Radishes
Pests that affect radishes can include,
10. Diseases That Affect Radishes
Diseases that can affect radishes include,
11. Radish Recipes
Radishes are a delicious, versatile vegetable. Here are just a few ways to make use of this tasty edible.
- Garlic Roasted Radishes
- Quick Pickled Radishes
- Sautéed Radishes
- Bok Choy and Radishes
- All the Radishes Salad
- Radishes are low in calories and contain antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- There are spring and winter radish varieties.
- Radishes are cool weather vegetables and do better planted in the spring and fall.
- Their soil should be well-draining and not overly rich.
- Radishes need a bright, sunny spot and an inch of water per week.
- Thinning your radish seedlings is of prime importance.
- Spring radishes grow faster and become woody if left too long.
- Winter radishes are longer growing and become sweeter and juicier as they age.
If you enjoyed this guide on growing radishes, feel free to share it with friends.