Radishes are a great vegetable to grow if you are looking for temperature and season specific crops to add to your garden. The rapid growth rate of radishes makes it possible to use them as a second crop where you have already grown and harvested other vegetables in the same garden space. They prefer cooler weather, so early spring and the end of the summer, well into fall, are a great time to sow their seeds. A single crop will provide you with a harvest big enough to pickle, and enjoy raw and cooked for months.
Use these tips to grow and harvest a successful crop of radishes for your kitchen table this year.
Sow Radishes from Seed
Radish transplants are almost impossible to find, and are better grown from seed anyway. Because the radish plant grows underground, it is very important the soil is well worked with little to no garden debris in the form of rocks, turf or wood to impede growth. The very top inch and a half of soil should be new, or tilled till it is super fine and almost sandlike. Sow seeds half an inch deep, in a raised hill.
Best Times to Grow
Radishes are best grown early spring, late summer, in the fall if you live in a warmer climate or throughout summer if your garden is in zones 1-5. The plant prefers cool soil to warm soil and the best flavor is gained when the plants are grown in milder temperatures.
How to Grow
Rather than packing a bunch of radishes into the garden at the same time, they are best grown as companion plants to peas, and other plants that grow vertical without blocking out a lot of the sunlight. It is also best to just plant a few at a time, and then stagger their addition to the garden so that you always have a crop ready for harvesting, without being overwhelmed by the overall crop.
Because the edible portion of the radish grows below the surface of the soil, it is important to prevent burrowing pests that will eat their way through a significant portion of your harvest. Regularly disrupt the soil around the radishes to ensure that nothing is nesting in the soil, remove what you do find and create hills to prevent as many pests as possible.
Your crop should be ready to pull in four to six weeks, when the leafy greens are full grown and you can see the bright red radish skin. Radishes will be the size of an egg and slightly bigger. If they are left in the soil too long they will begin splitting and grow inedible, so even if you don’t think you can use them up right away, harvest and store.