Saturday, April 4, 2020

Easy to grow crispy, peppery radishes

Radishes come in many sizes and pretty colors
Saturday, April 4, 2020

Radishes are some of the easiest and fastest to grow veggie in the garden!  They can be grown in the garden bed or a pot.  Radishes are quick to sprout and ready to eat in just 3-4 weeks.  

Radishes originated in China and moved west, being domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times.  It came in many different forms and colors.  There was the long rooted form that could get as big around as 6” or so and a round form that is most popular today.  Most were generally white, but there was also black.  

The short topped, red radish we know today was developed in the 1600’s.  They reached the American colonies in the late 1700’s.  The long rooted variety was the most popular until the 1900’s. 

Radishes provide anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, lutein, beta carotene, the vitamins B6, C and riboflavin as well as the minerals calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium.  They are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid and potassium.    Nutritional info

Radishes can be peppery or mild and come in many colors and sizes.

Radishes enjoy the same type of soil as carrots-loose, well dug rich in organic matter.  The ideal soil would be dug 4-6” deep (if growing the round variety) and mixed with sand and compost.  If interplanting with carrots or growing the long rooted type, a deeper digging is needed 6-9”. 

Many recommend mixing radish seeds, carrot seeds and sand together and sowing the seed this way since the carrot and radish seeds are so small.  Grow crunchy, colorful carrots practically year round  The radishes sprout very quickly and are ready to harvest well before the carrots. Radishes can be sown with beets and turnips as well. You get two crops in one this way.  All about beautiful beets  All about turnips

Radishes are also planted as a “trap crop” for flea beetles.  The flea beetles will be attracted to the radishes and leave other crops alone.  The flea beetles may make the radish greens look sad, but have no affect on the root itself.

Like carrots, radishes can be sown in the spring or fall. The seeds germinate quickly, just in 3-5 days. For spring, radishes can be sown as early as 3-4 weeks prior to last frost (when the early daffodils bloom) and first pickings will be ready in 3-4 weeks.  Harvest in the morning.  Both the roots and leaves are edible.

Radishes should be planted 1/2” deep, in rows 1-2’ apart.  They should be thinned to 2-6” apart, depending on the size of radish planted. 
For winter harvesting, sow in late summer or fall.  Roots are sweetest after a frost.  You can still eat the roots when the greenery has died back.  Just dig down with your trowel to release the sweet root from the ground.  Mulch in the fall and harvest when needed.

We found the White Icicle variety to be mild and enjoyed them in salads.  The red varieties typically are hotter.  The radishes will increase in heat as the temperatures rise.  Pick early for milder taste or later in the day for more of a kick.

Choose the round varieties if you have hard soil and do not want to dig deeply or if you want to grow in pots.  Radishes are equally happy in the garden bed or pots.  They are a really fun crop for kids, too, and come in so many colors.  A really pretty addition to any salad.

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