Radishes are among many gardeners favorite garden crops. All the plantings have a reasonable chance of success if you are committed to spoiling the little darlings with indulgent care - but the first truth we must tell about growing radishes is that just because radishes grow fast does not mean they are easy or carefree. Here are seven more truths about growing radishes.
Radishes don’t grow as quickly as they say
Radishes can mature really fast, but not always. Some seed companies often promote the earliest radishes as maturing in 23 days, which will never happen in any garden. Other catalogs give a more reasonable estimate of four to six weeks, which factors in periods of slow growth due to cool, cloudy weather. We always allow at least six to ten weeks for a good crop of radishes.
Radishes need space
The fast growth of radishes comes with conditions, including an uncompromising need for space. Seedlings that grow too close together will not plump up, so you must either sow the seeds at uniform spacing or thin them soon after they sprout. Small salad radishes will mature nicely when thinned to 2 inches (5cm) apart, but allow 4 inches (10cm) between big daikons and other storage radishes.
An easy life makes for a successful crop
Radishes have no tolerance for weeds or moisture stress, and they must have soil that never dries out. Bad soil will invite problems in rainy climate, so attentive watering is the only solution when growing radishes. Lettuce has similar needs and its best to grow the two vegetables in adjacent rows.
Only certain types of radish grow well in spring
All radish varieties grow well in the rains, but only some excel in the spring. Fast-growing salad radishes in red, bicolors are top choices. Beautiful red and green “watermelon” radishes like and carrot-shaped ones are always better in the fall.
Pest and disease problems are always just around the corner
Radishes are not without their problems. Flea beetles make tiny holes in the leaves, slugs and snails chew grooves in perfect roots, and a sudden deluge can cause radishes to split and start rotting. These are but a few of the reasons to promptly harvest radishes that have popped up out of the ground, trim off their tops, and store them in the refrigerator.
Prompt harvesting is essential
Despite claims that some radish varieties will hold in the garden without becoming pithy, the truth is that many bad things can happen to radishes that are left unharvested a day or two too long. It is a paradox that while perfect radishes must be promptly harvested, the trimmed roots will store in the refrigerator for months.
Radishes are very versatile in the kitchen
Radishes are delicious eaten raw, but they are also a savory cooked vegetable that deserves wider use in roasting pans and soup pots. Radishes are a great little veggie for fermenting, too. When you use salt fermentation methods to pickle little salad radishes, cut in half, the colors meld to produce a bright pink pickle.
The bottom line is that while growing radishes can be more intensive compared to many other vegetables, attending to details will insure a successful crop.
We recommend MahaGro Organic Potting Mix to grow radishes!