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For a spicy, peppery taste and crunch in salads, use radishes (Raphanus sativus).
Relish platters are adorned with them as a finishing touch. Radishes are a great addition to roasted root vegetable medleys since they keep their flavour and texture when cooked.
Radishes are also one of the simplest crops to grow in a home garden.
How are Radishes Grown?
The roots of radishes are best formed in loose soil, which is why they are commonly cultivated from seed.
Soil fertility can be improved by adding manure, grass, and leaves that have been composted.
It is advised that the planting area be cleared of pebbles, sticks, and other inorganic materials.
Radish plants prefer cool weather and moist soils in order to thrive.
During heavy rains, the soil can be compacted and a hard crust is formed on the surface, preventing root growth.
Radishes, on the other hand, become tough and lose their mild flavour when they are subjected to drought stress.
How to Plant Radishes
8 to 12 inches is a good depth for spading or tilling the soil (20 to 30 cm). Make sure to plant seeds in the spring or late summer for a fall harvest.
The seeds of radish should be sown 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Radishes can be seeded by hand, with a seeder, or with radish seed tape spaced 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
To avoid soil crusting and compaction, water the soil moderately. 4 to 6 days are required for germination. Sow radish seeds seven to ten days apart for a regular crop.
Using these radish-planting tips will also be beneficial:
- Apply a little mist of water if the soil becomes dry. Hand or small cultivator: Break up the surface gently.
- Every other radish root that reaches an edible size should be harvested to enhance the spacing between the other plants.
- One inch (2.5 cm) of rain or supplementary water is required for radishes per week. As a result of their huge taproots and little horizontal roots, radishes require a lot of watering.
- Although growing radishes in the full sun offer the best results, they can also be grown in partial shade.
- Weeds can be controlled by either weeding or mulching. There are several variations to choose from in terms of both colour and size and flavour.
When are Radishes Ready for Harvest?
Radishes are ready for harvest in 3 to 5 weeks for the majority of kinds.
You can harvest radishes of any size that is edible. Roots that are smaller tend to be more flavorful.
Roots become tougher as they grow older. In the absence of water, radishes will become woody.
In the final stages of their growth, radishes’ s enlarged roots may begin to poke through the dirt.
Pulling up a sacrificial radish plant to test if the roots are large enough to use is one technique to monitor their progress.
Using your hands, hold the plant’s foliage and base firmly, then carefully lift the plant’s root out of the earth.
Use a shovel or fork to remove the dirt around longer radish varieties, such as daikon, to prevent the root from breaking while being pulled.
It is possible to keep radishes in the refrigerator for a few weeks after harvesting.
Harvest and Storage
Prior to the roots becoming woody and bitter, radishes should be harvested.
Harvesting early roots is as simple as pulling them out of the ground and brushing off the soil.
For longer-term storage in the refrigerator, store leaves and roots separately and thoroughly wash shortly before using.
Spring and summer types need to be harvested quickly since they will quickly lose their flavour and texture if left in the ground once they’ve matured.
Store in plastic bags or a covered dish in the refrigerator after trimming the tops and removing the soil. To avoid rot, pat them dry as soon as possible after washing them.
Only a few days’ worth of spring and summer greens can be stored in the refrigerator. However, the roots might last for up to seven days.
Winter cultivars, on the other hand, can be left in the ground until the first frost without losing any flavour.
They’re also quite robust to freezing temperatures, and can last for months if stored in a wet environment. They can be kept for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Root cellars may store radishes for years by lining a box with straw and laying in the vegetables. Then, layer with straw, some soil (and more straw), and then more straw.
Alternatively, you can harvest and ground trench them outside after the first frost.
Set the roots down in the trench several inches deeper than they are wide, then add a thick coating of straw, the radish plants, a bit of soil and a final layer of straw.
Diseases and Pests
Diseases caused by fungus and bacteria rarely pose problems because of their rapid maturation rates. Insect infestation, on the other hand, is a possibility.
Root maggots and flea beetles are the most common problems, and both can be easily remedied.
It is best to avoid growing radishes in locations where cabbages have been cultivated for the past three years in order to reduce the risk of root maggots.
A floating row cover will also protect the leaves from flea beetles.
How to Grow Radishes in Pots
You can grow radishes in containers if you don’t have a garden or the loose soil they require. A shallow pot is all that is needed to grow common radish roots.
Rather than growing a long variety, it’s preferable to produce a spherical one so that it has more room to expand. An 8 to 12-inch wide and deep container should suffice.
Drainage holes are also a must. In order to prevent root rot, using unglazed clay pots is a good idea because they let moisture escape through the walls.
Potting soil of any quality can be used. More irrigation is required for container gardens because they dry out more rapidly. Keep an eye on the moisture levels.
The only pruning you’ll need to do on your radish plants is to thin out the seedlings. The radishes won’t grow correctly if they’re crammed together.
Fortunately, the seedlings you thin can be eaten. You don’t want to disrupt other plants’ roots by taking the plants out of the ground, so snip them off at the ground level.
Seed-grown radishes are the norm. It’s also feasible to save seeds from mature plants and use them in future plantings.
As long as you don’t cross-pollinate with any neighbouring relatives, you’ll be fine. Here’s how to keep the seeds safe:
- Instead of removing the mature radishes, leave the plant in the ground. It’ll eventually grow a flower stalk and seed pods if left to its own devices.
- Once they’ve turned brown and dried up, harvest ripe seed pods. The seeds can be liberated by crushing the pods. Remove the seeds from the pods and set them aside.
- Preserve the seeds in a paper envelope and keep them away from direct sunlight. For the next five years, they should be able to carry on their business.
How to Grow Larger Radish Varieties From Seed
Large radish types should be sown a little deeper than tiny radish varieties.
Keep the soil evenly moist but not saturated around the seeds, and gently firm the soil around them.
Three to ten days should be enough time for the seed to germinate.
Prevent competition for water and nutrients by removing any weeds around your seedlings before planting.
The life cycle of radishes is one growing season, making them annual. As a result, there will be no need for an overwintering period.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
A common pest of radish plants is the cabbage maggot, which tunnels through the vegetables. Radishes are a favourite food of cutworms.
They will feast on the radish leaves, but flea beetles will not harm the bulbs. Keep an eye out for these pests so they don’t ruin the entire harvest.
Floating row coverings can be used to protect your radishes from pests. Root maggots can be deterred by incorporating wood ash into the soil.
Downy mildew, black root, and scab are all diseases that can damage radish plants.
However, good growing circumstances can help to avoid many illness concerns.