Mixing fast growing and slow growing plants in your kitchen garden is a must thing to perform. This method will make working in the garden more fun to do. There are several choices of fast growing plant that you can add in your garden. However, nothing beats radish plants. They are not only fast growing but also easy to grow if you know how to plant radish.
- 1 Radish: Plant Description
- 2 Growing Requirements
- 3 Tips of How to Plant Radish
- 4 Radish Types and Varieties
- 5 How to Plant Radish
- 6 How to Grow Radish Seeds
- 7 When to Pick Radishes
Radish: Plant Description
It is widely believed that radish comes from Southeast Asia. Later on, it was spread to other countries, such as Egypt, China, Japan, Greek, and Rome. Ancient Egyptians had cultivated and eaten this vegetable since before the pyramids were built. Moreover, the Chinese and Japanese have learned the arts of how to plant radish since ages ago. In the more modern days, radish was brought to America by European explorers.
If you never performed the process of how to plant radish before, it is a good idea for you to find out more about this plant and its characteristics beforehand. As a result, you will have better understanding of this root vegetable plant. Raphanus sativus or radish is available in many varieties with different taproot shape, size, and colors.
Most of radish plants are annual plants. But, you can also find ones that grow as biennials. The plant has hairy stems with oblong green leaves. Radish plant with smaller taproot usually grows about 15 to 30 cm tall. But, the one with bigger taproot can grow up to 0.9 m tall. Meanwhile, the size of radish range about 2.5 to 10 cm in diameter. A taproot with bigger diameter grows quite long, between 20 and 35 cm long.
This root vegetable has unique taste. It is crunchy and peppery. When they are not harvested, its texture and taste will change. It is because the plant uses its energy to flower and go to seed. This stage in how to plant radish must be avoided if you grow this plant for its taproot.
Radish flowers are white, yellow, pink, or purple. These colors will attract insects to pollinate the flowers. Once they are pollinated, the flowers will develop seeds. Dry radish seeds can germinate in 3 to 7 days if planted at the right condition.
During the process of how to plant radish, it is essential to provide an ideal environment for the plant to grow.
1. Hardiness zone
Before you make some preparation on how to plant radish, you have to check your hardiness zone. Radish can be planted in USDA hardiness zone 2 to 10. However, certain varieties are only best planted in certain areas. It is why you have to choose varieties that are suitable to your hardiness zone.
This cool season crop grows well in temperature of 13oC to 23oC. Meanwhile, radish seeds will germinate even when the temperature is about 7oC. Now that you know the temperature required to grow it, you can decide the best time to start doing the steps of how to plant radish.
Radish loves to grow in full sun. When a radish plant gets enough sunlight, it will produce a larger taproot during its growing season. But, if it lives in part sun, the plant will grow large leaves instead of a large taproot. Therefore, it is important for you to choose the right planting site at the beginning of how to plant radish.
Soil plays an important role in the success of growing radish. Sandy loam is an ideal soil to plant radish. However, you need to work it out beforehand so that it meets all the requirements of how to plant radish. The soil in your garden must be loosened and cleaned from rocks. Rocky soil will cause misshapen radish.
In addition, you need to add enough compost into the soil. It is because this plant will only grow well in soil that is rich in organic matter. Moreover, the soil must be neutral, pH level of 7. To find out about the pH level of the soil, you can perform a certain test.
This vegetable plant grows well in moist soil. Therefore, you need to water it properly during the stages of how to plant radish. In order to avoid waterlogged soil, you have to do something to improve the drainage of the soil. One of them is by creating a raised bed to grow it.
Tips of How to Plant Radish
Some people think that growing radish is very easy. But, for those who never do it before, planting this taproot vegetable may not be always easy. However, with these tips of how to plant radish, you will be able to deal with the problems that may arise.
1. Don’t let the soil get crusty
It is essential for a radish to grow in loose soil. However, because of the weather or other things, the soil around it gets crusty. As a result, the taproot will suffer from growing difficulty. To solve this problem, you should sprinkle some water on the soil. After that, break the crusty soil gently using your hands.
2. Mulch the planting site
Keeping the soil stay moist is a must. In order to maintain moisture, it is recommended to mulch the planting site. Mulch will not only keep the soil moist. But, it will also prevent weeds to grow. And in warmer areas, certain mulch can make the taproot stay cool. Therefore, the mulching phase of how to pant radish is a must step to do.
3. Avoid bolting
Bolting or flowering early on radish plant must be avoided since it can cause inedible radish. During the process of how to plant radish, you can do several things to avoid it. Radish will bolt when the weather suddenly gets hotter and the soil is dry. If it happens, water the plant more than usual. In addition, you need to mulch the soil properly to keep the soil moist and cool.
Bolting will also happen when you plant the radish at the wrong time. Therefore, it is a must for you to plant it at the right time. The best time to grow this vegetable depends on its variety. In consequence, you have to remember to read the information on the radish seed package before start growing this plant.
4. Perform a crop rotation
There are several pests and diseases that can affect your radish plant. To avoid them, it is recommended to do a crop rotation. It will help you avoid pests and diseases on your radish plant. For better result, do not grow this vegetable on a planting site which had been used to grow radish for the last 3 years.
5. Choose the right variety
Basically, radish varieties are differentiated as spring radish and winter radish. Moreover, they are also differentiated based on the length of their growing season. If you live in warmer areas, a short season variety will be your best option.
6. Plant radish at the right time
Planting radish at the right time is an important thing to do. If you are going to plant a spring radish variety, the best time to sow its seeds is in the spring. And if you want to grow a winter radish variety, the best time to plant the seeds is in late summer or early fall. For a more accurate planting time, take a look at the frost calendar.
7. Perform direct sowing
Direct sowing will increase your chance of success in planting radish. It is because the taproot is a bit sensitive. The seedling will likely to suffer from transplanting shock if you sow the seeds in seedling pots.
Radish Types and Varieties
When you plan to grow radish, you will find out that there are many radish varieties that are available in online and offline nurseries. Each of them requires different approaches in how to plant radish. Moreover, these varieties fall into three groups.
1. Early season
This type of radish will mature in 20 to 30 days. Early season or spring radish varieties are not heat tolerant because they require cool temperature to grow well. The best time to grow them is in the spring or the fall. Some of the recommended varieties are:
a. Burpee white
This variety produces white and round radish. The size of the taproot is small. It is best harvested when the radish is about 2.5 cm in diameter.
b. Cherry belle
This kind of radish has small taproot with red skin. This round radish is best consumed when its diameter is 2 cm.
Radish varieties that are grouped as mid-season radish are ready to be harvested in 30 to 40 days. It is more heat tolerant than the early season ones. The best time to start their seeds is in May. But, you can also plant it in August. The choices of mid-season radish varieties are limited. These are some of them.
a. Dragon hybrid
If you choose this variety to grow, you will get elongated radish. The skin is bright red, but the flesh is white. This Chinese radish can be harvested when the taproot is about 10 to 12.5 cm long.
b. Crimson giant
This plant will give you round taproot with red skin and white flesh. The radish is most tasty when it is about 4 cm in diameter.
3. Late season
The late season radish is also known as winter radish. It matures in 60 to 70 days. Late season radish usually produce a bigger taproot than an early season radish. The best time to grow late season radish is in late summer or early fall. There are some recommended winter radish varieties you can grow.
This Japanese radish is very popular. It is white and elongated. The taproot can grow up to 40 cm long. It is perfect for soups and stews.
b. Watermelon radish
It is called watermelon radish because the taproot is green and white on the outside and pink in the inside. Watermelon radish is best harvested when it is between 7 and 10 cm in diameter.
How to Plant Radish
Radish is one of taproot vegetables that can be planted easily. Its seeds has good germination rate. Therefore, you will likely get a good start in growing this plant. And if you know how to plant radish, you can have better success in growing this plant.
1. Working the soil
The first thing you need to do during the stages of how to plant radish is working the soil. It is done so that the soil in your garden is loose, rich in organic matter, and has the right pH level. To achieve them, you need to till or loosen the soil, remove all the rocks in the soil, add compost, and use lime or elemental sulfur to adjust soil pH level.
2. Sowing seeds
Radish seeds are best sown directly to the ground. Plant the seeds about 1 to 2 cm deep. Space the seeds about 2.5 cm apart. These seeds will germinate in less than a week. When the seedlings are a week old, you need to thin them so that the seedlings are 5 cm apart.
Taking care of this vegetable plant is easy. You only need to water the plant regularly. You may need to add the amount of water or the watering frequency if the soil looks dry. You don’t need to side dress the plant during its growing season. But, you need to mulch the soil and make sure that weeds and other pests stay away from the radish you grow.
How to Grow Radish Seeds
Do you want to grow radishes for the seeds? Some radishes are grown mainly for their seedpods. Young radish seedpods are edible. Their taste is similar to the taproot, but it is milder. In addition, their shape is like a shorter version of pea pods.
Most radish varieties have edible seedpods. But, rat’s tail and dragon’s tail are varieties that are most commonly planted for the seedpods. The process of how to plant radish for its seedpods is not that different from growing radish for the taproot.
The difference is that you must let the radish goes to seed. When the seedpods are still green, pick them and use this vegetable to make salads, pickled radish seedpods, or stir fried radish seedpods. In addition, you can let one or two of your radish plants to have mature seeds.
And when they are brown and start to dry, pull out the plant and dry the seeds. Therefore, you have radish seeds ready for your next planting. These seeds will not lose its germination rate if you store them properly for two or more years.
When to Pick Radishes
The last step of how to plant radish is picking the radish. This root vegetable must be harvested at the recommended size. Therefore, you may need to pull one of your radish plants to find out whether or not they have reached the desired size. In addition, you also need to consider their maturity since different radishes have different growing season.
Now that you understand the stages of how to plant radish, you can grow it successfully. Radish is a perfect crop for young and impatient gardeners. Therefore, involving your kids in this kind of gardening is a good idea.