The Vegetable Garden

    Radish

      Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up
      and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, more moist days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than spring varieties.

      Varieties

      Spring

      • Burpee White (25 days to harvest; round; smooth white skin)
      • Champion (28 days, large, round, red)
      • Cherry Belle (22 days, round, red)
      • Cherry Queen Hybrid (24 days, deep red, round, slow to become pithy)
      • Early Scarlet Globe (23 days; globe-shaped, small taproot, bright red)
      • Easter Egg (25 days; large, oval; color mix includes reddish purple, lavender, pink, rose, scarlet, white)
      • Fuego (25 days; round, red; medium tops; resistant to fusarium, tolerant to blackroot/black scurf)
      • Plum Purple (25 days, rounded, large, deep magenta)
      • Snow Belle (30 days, attractive, round, white, smooth)

      For Spring or Summer Use

      • French Breakfast (23 days, oblong red with white tip)
      • Icicle (25 days, long, slim, tapered white)

      Winter (for storage)

      • China Rose (52 days, white)
      • Chinese White (60 days; large, long, square-shouldered, blunt-tipped, creamy white roots)
      • Round Black Spanish (55 days; rough, black skin, white flesh)
      • Tama Hybrid (70 days; daikon type; roots as long as 18 inches, with 3 inch diameter; smooth, white; blunt tip)

      When To Plant

      Spring radishes should be planted from as early as the soil can be worked until mid-spring. Make successive plantings of short rows every 10 to 14 days. Plant in spaces between slow-maturing vegetables (such as broccoli and brussels sprouts) or in areas that will be used later for warm-season crops (peppers, tomatoes and squash). Spring radishes also can be planted in late winter in a protected cold frame, window box or container in the house or on the patio. Later-maturing varieties of radishes (Icicle or French Breakfast ) usually withstand heat better than the early maturing varieties and are recommended for late-spring planting for summer harvest. Winter radishes require a much longer time to mature than spring radishes and are planted at the same time as late turnips (usually midsummer to late summer).

       


      Spacing & Depth

      Sow seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Thin spring varieties to 1/2 to 1 inch between plants. Winter radishes must be thinned to 2 to 4 inches, or even farther apart to allow for proper development of their larger roots. On beds, radishes may be broadcast lightly and thinned to stand 2 to 3 inches apart in all directions.

      Care

      Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared well, is fertilized before planting and has adequate moisture maintained. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.

      Radishes mature rapidly under favorable conditions and should be checked often for approaching maturity. Harvest should begin as soon as roots reach edible size and should be completed quickly, before heat, pithiness or seedstalks can begin to develop.

      Harvesting

      Pull radishes when they are of usable size (usually staring when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and relatively young. Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop.

      Winter varieties mature more slowly and should be harvested at considerably larger size. Once they reach maturity, they maintain high quality for a fairly long time in the garden, especially in cool fall weather. Size continues to increase under favorable fall conditions. Daikon or Chinese radish, can achieve particularly large size and still maintain excellent quality. Winter radishes can be pulled before the ground freezes and stored in moist cold storage for up to several months.

      Common Problems

      Root maggots may tunnel into radishes. These insects are more common above 40 degrees north latitude. Apply a suggested soil insecticide before planting if this insect previously has been a problem.