One of the most popular garden crops, home-grown radishes grace the presence of dinner tables all over. Their culinary versatility make them a great addition to any kitchen; they can be eaten raw, cooked in a variety of dishes, or even pickled.
Radishes are a great crop to try out if you're a new gardener, or if you are including small children in the gardening adventure. These tips will help to make your plantings even more successful.
1. Cool season crop
Radishes will not do well in the heat of summer, so they need to be planted early in the spring or later in the season for a fall harvest. As soon as the soil is workable in the spring they can be started.
2. Garden bed prep
Root veggies benefit from a well-worked garden bed that is free of clods or large rocks. Work the top 6-8" of soil well, adding in 2-3" of finished compost or well-aged manure to increase the organic matter content and improve drainage and soil structure.
3. Direct sow seeds
Plant seeds in rows/furrows spaced 10-12" apart. The small seeds should be covered with no more than 1/2" of soil to encourage quicker sprout emergence through the soil surface.
4. Thin seedlings
After the seedlings have reached a height of 3-4", thin plants to 2-4" apart depending on the variety. Grow Veg recommends a plant spacing of 2" for salad radishes, and 4" for larger varieties such as daikon or other storage radishes.
5. Keep soil moist
A key to growing good radishes is to keep the soil consistently moist while the plants are growing. Harvest to Table describes some of the problems with growing radishes; spotty moisture can lead to hot, pungent radishes or ones that are woody or pithy.
6. Harvest promptly
Radishes mature quickly and need to be closely monitored as they reach harvestability. If left in the ground too long they will deteriorate in quality, making them hot or pungent, or tough. Radishes are best harvested when they are about 1" in diameter.