When it comes to vegetable gardening, there are so many different types of food to grow. The time needed to grow certain vegetables varies quite a bit. A good garden should have a mix of fast and slow-growing crops. This means that there is a regular occurrence of plants to be harvested throughout the growing season. When it comes to quick-growing vegetables, radishes are by far the most prolific. Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, radishes can have multiple sowings and harvests. This makes them an excellent crop to grow, especially for beginner gardeners. This guide will teach you how to grow radishes and help you have a successful radish crop this year.
How to grow radishes
Types of radishes
Like most plants, radishes have several varieties to choose from. Which type you grow will depend on your taste as well as your growing zone. They vary growing in size, shape, taste, and color. From the Daikon radish, which is well known and one of the largest varieties, to the Cherry Belle, which are small round and have a crisp flavor. We grow the Cherry Belle type as the seeds are readily available.
Radishes are incredibly easy to plant. The seeds, often referred to as pods, come either loose in the package or as seed tape. Which way you choose is up to you. I personally find seed tape works best as I know the seeds are already evenly spaced. This also ensures I have clean, straight rows when I plant them. Also, the seeds are super small, which can make planting loose seeds difficult, especially if you want them evenly spaced. Each type will require a different planting depth and grow time, so be sure to pay attention to the planting instructions.
The soil should be fairly loose, to allow the radishes to easily grow and form their bulbous roots. You want to make sure the soil will retain good moisture, as radishes don’t like dry conditions. Radishes are quick to sprout, generally needing only 3-4 days from planting to sprout.
Because radishes grow so quickly, it is easy to squeeze multiple sowings into a single growing season. Depending on how much you like radishes, you can plant a row every week or two, or you can wait until the first bunch is harvested before planting a second crop.
Just make sure to leave space in your garden if you do plan to do succession planting – where you plant them every week or two. Otherwise, you will need to wait until a row is harvested before planting more due to a lack of space.
Do you need to thin radishes?
Many root crops, like carrots, should be thinned as the plants grow. However, radishes seem to be the exception to this rule. Of course, it all depends on the variety that is being grown and the sowing method. With seed tape, the need to thin is reduced. Though if you hand sowed loose seeds, then you very well may need to thin them at least once to provide space for the radishes to properly grow. In the years I have been growing radishes, I have never had to thin them. If you find some are on the smaller side as they near harvest age, simply harvest some of the bigger ones around it and allow that radish some extra time to grow bigger.
Radishes make an excellent companion plant in the garden. Because of their pungent smell, they act as a great insect deterrent. Thus keeping pest insects, such as ants, aphids, and tomato hornworms away from other plants in your garden. Radishes grow well with peas, nasturtiums, lettuce, and some varieties of parsley. However, avoid placing it near plants from the hyssop or mint family.
Can you grow them in containers?
Yes! Radishes do well in most conditions. Be it containers, raised beds, or in-ground gardenings. No matter where you plant radishes they will thrive. The number one rule when growing in containers is to make sure that the container is big enough. You want it to be fairly wide to allow room for the radishes to grow in width without being crowded. Depending on what variety of radish you are growing you may need a fairly deep pot as well.
After about three to four weeks, radishes are ready to harvest. The size of the radish will depend on the variety planted. However, if you wish your radishes to be a bit bigger before harvesting, then wait a few extra days. Just don’t wait too long. If radishes get too large, they often become woody. While still edible, they are less pleasant to eat this way. When harvesting, you can pick an entire row at once or pick a handful every day. This will depend on how quickly you want to harvest and eat them. If you have a radish loving family, then pick them all in one go. However, if you are like us, we only have one radish eater in the house. So, we pick a few each day until the row is gone.
Do you have radishes growing in your garden? What is your favorite radish variety to grow?