By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
I have been growing radishes even longer than I have grown roses; they were a part of my very first garden on the farm where I grew up. My favorite radish to grow is one that is red on top and a bit of white on the bottom; at Burpee Seeds they are known as the Sparkler. Other radishes I have grown are Champion, White Icicle, Cherry Belle, Red Glow and French Dressing. The French Dressing and White Icicle types grow longer while the other types named are more round.
Radishes make a great addition to any salad, giving it both color and some added natural flavor. Some will also add a bit of fire to the salad for those that like something hot in their meal. They also make a great fresh from the garden treat. Just pull them from the ground, wash off the dirt, clip off the top and bottom feeder root and you are ready to enjoy them. What does a radish need to grow? Just a little TLC from the gardener.
How to Grow Radishes
If you’re looking for something extremely easy to grow in the garden, then growing radishes is for you. As soon as you can work the soil in your garden in the spring, you can start growing radishes.
Using a hoe, make some rows in your garden soil that are about an inch deep. Plant the seeds ½ inch deep and try to keep them about an inch apart in the row. Once the seeds have been placed to fill up a row, cover them lightly with the loose garden soil, plant the next row in the same manner. When all done, sprinkle the row or rows lightly with water enough to settle things in, but not soaked to the point of becoming muddy. Remember to sprinkle lightly with water, as watering too hard can wash the seeds right up out of the soil they were just planted in.
The radishes will germinate in anywhere from four to 10 days and be ready to harvest in 20 to 50 days depending on the type planted. Usually with radishes you can have two or three plantings and harvests during the growing season, again depending on the type planted. I have found that keeping them well watered during their growing time to harvest tends to make for a flavorful but not as hot a radish, while not keeping them well watered seems to turn up the heat, so to speak.
Tip: Watering the radishes well the night before harvesting them makes it far easier to pull them from the ground.
Choosing a Radish to Grow in Your Garden
When selecting the radish seeds you wish to plant, check the back of the seed packet for the days to harvest listing; that way if you want to enjoy some radishes sooner than later, you’ll be able to select a type that has the shortest time to harvest, such as the Cherry Belle type.
There are said to be five main varieties of radish with hybrid types branching off from the five main varieties, those varieties being:
- Red Globe radish
- Daikon radish
- Black radish
- White Icicles radish
- California Mammoth White radish
Radishes are an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin C and folate (folic acid) in your diet as well.