A true gardener probably knows how to grow rosemary, celery, thyme and many more. Time for something new! Radishes (aka Raphanus sativus) generally don’t get the fanfare they deserve. They might not be the most sought-after garden veggies, but they’re certainly one of the healthiest. For instance, did you know that radishes have antifungal properties and can aid in the digestive process?
If you’re already on the hunt for a comprehensive radish sprouting guide – we’d like to say congratulations. Our article is wholly devoted to walking you through each process of growing radishes at home! All you need to do is scroll down to discover more about how long it’d take before you have your very own batch of this hardy vegetable.
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If you’re new to home gardening, then we have great news for you. Radishes are one of the easiest plants to grow, and they’re also quick to harvest. Although, you should keep in mind that large daikon varieties may take quite a few months before being ready for harvest.
For the most part, radishes are consumed raw as part of salads and are renowned for their somewhat spicy and intense flavour. You can also grow them as companion plants to items such as lettuce, spinach or cucumbers.
Being a cool-season plant, it’s best to tackle growing radishes in the fall or spring for best results (in texture and flavour). You can start sowing your plants around three weeks before the last frost date on average because radishes will take around seventy days (2 months and ten days) to be ready for harvest. Also, note that your radishes should be grown and harvested before the weather starts to warm up.
Radish leaves tend to form a lobed cluster, and radish roots can either be long and narrow or sphere-shaped. To give you some idea about the size of harvest you require for an entire household – remember that you’ll need to plant at least 14-15 radishes per member.
When to plant them and how
As mentioned earlier, you should start planting radishes either in the fall (late summer) or early spring to ensure they have ample time to grow and mature before summer sets in. Despite their need for cool weather, you should grow them in partial shade or full sun.
You’ll need to plant your radishes soil that’s well-drained and loose. The soil pH should range between 5.5 to 6.8. Because radishes are edible roots, the soil shouldn’t be compacted so it can give the plant room to grow and stay free of lumps, rocks, etc. If the soil in your garden is somewhat clay-like, you can try mixing some sand in it to improve drainage and texture.
It’s also a good idea to add organic matter to your soil (such as mulch, fertiliser, or compost) to make sure your plants get adequate nutrients. Finally, plant radishes with three-year crop rotation to ensure your harvest is hale and disease-free.
How to plant radish varieties
If you’re planning on growing radishes in containers, make sure you sow radish seeds at least 10cm deep. You can also try planting radish plants in circular containers, and remember not to overcrowd the plants because radishes need plenty of room to grow.
Conversely, if you intend to put your vegetable garden to use, sow seeds directly in the garden bed around 2cm deep. Make sure to keep a spacing distance of 25cm between each row of radishes. The distance between each plant should be around 10-13cm. Although, if you’re planting winter varieties – you might want to give the plants even more room.
Pro tip: Remember to check your local frost dates before finalising your sowing date. If you want to plant in spring, start 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Similarly, if you’re going to plant in the fall, start 5 to 6 weeks before the first frost of fall.
How long do radishes take to grow?
Now that we’ve gone over how and when to plant varieties of radishes – let’s focus on germination and how long it takes for the veg to grow.
Spring varieties will germinate quite easily if there’s a constant temperature range between 12 to 24 degrees Celsius. However, sprouting after seeding requires a temperature range of 4 to 26 degrees Celsius. If all things go well (i.e., the right soil, weather and water conditions), the spring radish seeds can germinate as quickly as four days, though some may take up to 10 days.
It’s essential not to plant your seeds too deep and keep your seeds safe from temperatures lower than 4 degrees to promote germination. Note that with varieties such as daikon radishes, the radish seedlings can take up to four weeks to sprout.
Once your seedlings appear, you should thin spring radishes to approximately 8cm apart. Winter radishes should be thinned around 15cm apart. However, remember to use sterilised scissors to do away with extra seedlings to maintain hygiene standards and keep your plants safe.
How to properly care for them
Caring for radishes is easy enough. Watering the right way is one of the most essential things. Be careful not to overwater them as they’re growing. Generally, you should only add as much water as it takes to wet the surrounding soil to a depth of 0.5cm. Also, keep weeding the area so that the weeds don’t eat up nutrients in the ground.
You can add a 21-0-0 fertiliser around four weeks after your seedlings emerge – mix 1/4 of a cup of fertiliser to fertilise 25cm of soil. If you’d prefer the organic method, try adding compost along the rows you’ve planted.
As far as pests are concerned, you may need to watch out for root maggots and aphids. But, these infestations can be quickly taken care of by pinching away the bugs. If you notice small holes in the radish leaves, you may have a flea beetle infestation. You can remedy this situation by utilising horticultural fleece and employing a nitrogen-rich fertiliser to aid your crop to outgrow or exceed the pests.
When is the right time to harvest
Depending on the variety of radishes you plant, your plants may be ready for harvest as quickly as three weeks after sowing. Generally, you can harvest your plants when the roots measure 2cm in diameter at the surface. Harvesting radishes is super-easy and only requires you to lift the plants gently from the soil when they’re mature.
Summer radishes will need around a month to reach the harvesting stage; whereas, winter radishes can take up to two months. You can push the soil aside to decide whether your plants are ready to harvest. It’s best not to leave the radish plants in the soil for too long after they’re ready for harvest lest their white flesh becomes pithy.
How to store them the right way
You can store your radishes by cutting off their tops and root tails. Next, proceed to wash the root vegetable and dry them. Finally, place them in plastic bags and store them in the refrigerator safely for one week.
Be it the cherry belle, black Spanish, or mooli – there are plenty of radish varieties and cultivars to choose from for growing them at home. Best of all, radishes are easy to grow and look after – which means you won’t spend too much time or effort raising or harvesting them. If you’re already growing veggies like onions or parsnips – you can utilise radishes as row markers and add to the variety of your garden. Long story short, there’s nothing to stop you from growing these hearty and wholesome veggies now that know how to do it