Growing radishes is the closest you can come to “instant gratification” in gardening. Radishes sprout easily, grow quickly, and are a perfect first seed to grow for new or young gardeners. Although they are easy to grow, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to grow radishes well. These 10 tips for growing radishes will teach you what you need to know to be a radish growing pro!
10 tips for growing Radishes
1. Radishes are a cool season crop
Radishes grow best in cool weather (less than 65 degrees). Warm weather causes them to bolt and become bitter. In Maricopa County, plant radishes beginning in September through April. Keep an eye on weather conditions and if it is unseasonably hot, wait to plant until temperatures drop.
2. Radishes prefer loose soil rich in organic matter
Soil that is too high in nitrogen will produce an abundance of leaves, but no radishes. Rotate where you plant radishes. If you have grown brassicas in an area, it is best to wait 3 years before planting radishes in the same spot to prevent root maggots.
3. Try different types of radishes
Cherry Belle radishes are one of the easiest to grow and perfect for a first-time gardener. Watermelon radishes are larger than regular radishes with a pale green exterior and a deep pink interior (thus the name). White Icicle radishes develop white roots up to 5 inches long. Rat’s Tail radishes are grown for the edible bean-like seed pods they produce.
4. Space radishes correctly
Plant radishes 3 inches apart and ½ inch deep, and cover seeds loosley with soil. Consider using seed tape for proper spacing of radishes. Crowded radishes do not grow well and may not develop a radish, but be thin and shriveled.
5. Radishes need even moisture and plenty of sunlight
Regular watering is important when growing radishes. If radishes dry out, they can bolt. If radishes are too wet, they can split. Radishes need at least 6 hours of sunlight. Radish plants that do not get enough sunlight may not develop a radish, only leaves.
6. Interplant radishes among other slower-growing plants
Because radishes grow so quickly, they can be planted around other slower-growing vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and beets. By the time the slower-growing crops require extra room, the radishes have been harvested. Look for empty spaces in your garden, and fill the spots with radishes.
7. Radishes are an excellent companion plant
Radishes draw aphids and other pests away from peppers, squash, and cabbages.
8. Don’t wait to harvest radishes
Once a quarter size bulb forms on radishes, it’s time to harvest them. Small young radishes are mild and crisp. Radishes left in the ground too long become hot and pithy. Longer-type radishes are best harvested young as well. Push back soil to check size, or pull one to see if radishes are ready.
9. Picked radishes store well
Cut the greens of radishes, brush off dirt, and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Radishes can be kept this way for 1-3 weeks.
10. Eat radishes in a variety of ways
Sliced radishes are a delicious addition to salads, of course. Shred radishes and add them to slaw. Try chopped radishes in egg salad, potato salad, stir fry, and soups. Radishes are excellent fermented. If you haven’t tried fermenting before, pickled radishes are a great way to learn.