The Radish. Salad enhancer. Natural garden tiller. Gardener confidence raiser.
Black thumb growers rejoice! There is a plant for you.
The intimidation growing factor for radishes are zero. Germination is quick. Maturity is in less than a month (sans Daikons that take two months). Fertilization is minimal. Frost tolerance is fairly high.
It’s a great plant to start with in spring. It grows with little help and creates hope in the gardener… before bugs, funguses, and climate reign terror on the summer crop.
Wheather you start in your plot or a container (air pruning Smart Pots are a great idea), radishes can tolerate about any condition with their shallow root system.
Perhaps the hardest thing about radishes is choosing which variety to grow. The choices are abundant and include creative colorful names like French Breakfast, White Icicle, German Giant, and Cherry Belle.
Start radishes outdoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Make sure your plot is free of underground rocks or any other matter that deters root growth. Sow seeds 1/2″ apart. Within several days, seeds sprouts appear. In another couple of days, the seedlings will be a couple of inches tall. Thin these to 3″ apart for optimal root growth.
After about a week, add a good fish emulsion (i.e Neptune’s) and a good phosphorous-based root booster (like a compost tea with bat guano) for fertilization. After that, sit back and watch ’em grow. After about 4 weeks, you should have a fresh bounty of radishes.
To keep the crop growing, sow seeds every couple of weeks until the weather gets consistently warm about 75 F degrees.
Check out this growing radish tutorial. The video length ( 8 minutes) is the same amount it will take to start growing your own:
Next up: Onions: Gourmet in the garden. Bad in the breath.