Radishes, a cool-weather vegetable, are among the first vegetables that can be used from the garden. Radishes need a sunny location and can be grown in early spring and as a fall crop. As the weather gets hot, however, the flavor of radishes becomes strong and hot.
Growing up, my family liked spicy food. Dad, grandpa and my aunts, all liked anything that had an extra taste of hot and spicy! So we planted radishes every spring. Dad liked to eat them whole and mom liked them sliced up into a salad. I didn’t like them when I was growing up but as I got older I have come to enjoy the crispy vegetable.
How and when are radish grown?
Round red varieties include Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, Red Prince, Red Boy, and Comet. White radishes include Icicle and Round White. Multi-colored (white to pink to red) varieties include Easter Egg. White and multicolored varieties generally require longer to mature.
When to plant
Plant radishes in mid- to late March for a spring crop or in early September for a fall crop. Make successive plantings so that you will have a continuous supply over a longer period of time. A special type of radish such as the large winter radish or oriental radish might require as long to mature as beets or carrots and requires the same culture.
Radishes can be grown in narrow 15-inch rows, and in bed or wide-row plantings. Each radish needs 1-2 inches to enlarge its root, so thin seedlings to this spacing. Plant seeds ¼-½ inch deep.
Radishes require loose, well-drained soil and need regular, frequent watering for a good crop. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer can encourage lush tops with poor-sized radishes. Control weeds while they are small, and be careful not to damage the shallow root system of this spring crop.
In loose soil, radishes can easily be pulled, especially if the soil is moist. For elongated radishes in heavy soil, a spading fork may be necessary. Store excess radishes by removing the tops and placing in plastic bags in a refrigerator. Radishes will remain good for a week or more.
By: Scott Eckert, Harvey County Extension Agent, Horticulture