Radishes – Growing and Care

(Raphanus sativus) Radishes: you love them or you hate them. Either way, these spicy little roots are one of the quickest growing vegetables you can plant in your garden, some varieties ready to harvest in as few as three weeks!

A pinterest pin of a bundle of four radishes, held in the hand.

basics

Plant your radishes in a location that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day. Radishes, like carrots, prefer looser, sandier soils with good drainage, and can struggle when it comes to heavy clay soils. They behave well in raised beds.

Hot summer weather signals the end of radish planting season, as high temperatures make radishes bolt and taste bitter.

sowing

Plant your radish seeds directly in the garden up to 6 weeks before your estimated final frost date. Sow each seed roughly 1/2 an inch to 1 inch deep, and water well. Germination should occur anywhere between 3 to 10 days as long as seeds are kept both cool and evenly moist.

Radishes need about 2 to 3 inches of space to themselves apiece as a rough rule, so as seedlings come up, thin as needed. Crowded plants will struggle. Larger radish varieties naturally will require more space than smaller radish varieties, so check your seed packet for proper spacing instructions.

Radishes can be sown as long as the weather stays cool- they bolt in the heat. If you want continuous radishes all throughout the season, plant more seeds every 7 to 10 days until it becomes too hot for them. For a fall crop, start sowing seeds up to 6 weeks before your estimated first frost date.

watering

Keep radishes evenly moist as they grow, but don’t let them end up in a swamp! This is a part that can be a bit tricky- you want enough water to prevent your radishes from splitting and being tough and woody, but too much water leads to rotting. They do best if kept consistently, evenly moist. If you struggle with this, a very thin layer of mulch may help.

fertilizing

Completely unneeded, refreshingly enough, and best avoided in most cases. Too much fertilizer encourages lots of leaves, but not a good root, which isn’t what you want when it comes to radishes.

Harvest

When your radishes reach maturity, pull them immediately, as they don’t keep well and quickly ripen past the point of edibility when kept in the ground. As for when you can tell if your radishes have reached that point, you’ll have to check out the individual variety: depending on what you’ve planted, you could have a harvest ready to pluck anywhere between 18 days to 45 days after sowing the seeds.

Store them by cutting off the leaves (the long, thin root at the bottom is often sliced off as well) and keeping them in the refrigerator. They still won’t keep long, so eat them fast!

additional care

Most pests don’t bother radishes since they’re so fast growing, but root maggots may be an issue in some places. Use crop rotation and avoid planting radishes in the same location year after year if you have this problem.

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