Gardening is a Natural Beginning to a Healthier Living.
Gardening is a Natural Beginning to a Healthier Living.
These are 3 varieties of radishes I am currently growing in our garden. I plant to add watermelon radishes again soon.
The radish is an edible root vegetable that was domesticated in Asia prior to Roman times. Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw as a crunchy salad vegetable with bite. Their bite can be contained a bit by boiling or steaming the radishes for about 5 minutes. Still a bit on the firm side but with a little sweeter taste.
The instructions below are for my zone: Zone 8b. Instructions may vary depending on your zone. Remember to locate your zone: Plant Hardiness Zone.
3-10 days depending on weather conditions.
Radishes are a cool weather vegetable that still loves the sun, just not the heat so much. They need sun to grow, but prolonged extreme heat will make them bolt. They grow best in early Spring and early Fall.
Radishes are an annual. You plant the seed, grow the radish, harvest the radish, and the plant is gone. However, if you leave the radish in the ground and do not harvest the root, the radish will produce a large plant of flowers and seed pods. They will reseed themselves if left alone.
Radish roots like loose rich soil to grow their bulbs. Adding coco choir or peat moss to your dirt provides the looseness in the soil without any obstructions to hinder their growth. An all purpose fertilizer (10-10-10) to the soil prior to planting your seeds will provide all the nutrients needed to produce healthy plants (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium).
For Spring planting, sow your seeds directly in the ground 3-4 weeks before your last frost date. Sow them about an inch deep and and about 2 inches apart. If you plant them too closely together, they will not produce large bulbs. Succession planting will provide a steady crop throughout the growing season.
For a Fall planting, sow your seeds about 60 days before your first frost date. Radishes are quick growers but you do not want them to try and weather the night frosts.
Fertilize depending on your expectations of the plant. Nitrogen will provide a lot of leafy greens and smaller radish bulbs, which is great if you like to harvest the baby leaves for your salads. Lower nitrogen levels and higher phosphorous levels will help the bulb grow. Bone meal is best used to fertilize flowering plants and root crops such as carrots, onions, beets, radishes, turnips because of the role phosphorus plays in flowering and root development.
Some radishes, such as the french breakfast radish, will pop out of the ground when it is ready to harvest. Some stay under ground and you need to brush the dirt away at the top of the bulb to see the size of the bulb. (see images below)
While most common is harvesting to eat the radishes fresh, they can also be pickled, boiled, steamed, or dehydrated for different flavors and textures.
Common pests that like radishes are cutworms, flea beetles, aphids, harlequin bugs, and cabbage moths. The cabbage moth will lay their eggs that turn into the tiny green worms that will devour your leaves. These little green worms are NOT the all-to-famous horn worm, but can be just as hard to locate since they are the same color of the leaves.
Companion plants can be anything that do NOT use the same nutrients from the same patch of soil. If you have a root vegetable, you should plant a vegetable that is not a root vegetable. This way the plants are not fighting for the same nutrients and end up complimenting each other instead. Pair up radishes with squash, lettuce, spinach, mint, and peas. I have also planted them next to tomato plants since the radishes are harvested before the tomato plants get too tall and shade them out.
A great patch of purple plum radishes. I kept up harvesting until I got focused on another patch of vegetables needing my attention. Check out the image to the right to see what happened!
Whoops! I forgot to harvest that last remaining batch of radishes and they went to seed quite quickly. This is only 5 radish plants! So, if you plan to save seeds, keep in mind the space your radishes are growing in. They will need a LOT of space to branch out and take over...even with tomato rings to keep them upright.
One your radish plant sends up a shoot of green buds and a long stem, it will begin to produce purple and/or white flowers.
When the flowers start to fall off, after weeks of producing as many flowers as it can, seed pods will begin to form. Only flowers that were pollinated will produce seed pods. If you get pods, but no pollination, there will not be any seeds inside.
When the plant starts to die back, or if you wait for the plant to die back completely, pop the seed pods off the stems at the base where the pod meets the stem. If dry enough, it should break off with ease. If your harvested the pods while the plant is still somewhat green, place your pods in an area with plenty of airflow and direct sunlight to finish drying completely.
Once your pods are brown and bone dry, you should be able to shake the pod and hear the seeds rattling inside. This is the sign that your seeds are ready for the harvesting.
Break open your pod and collect your seeds. Some pods will produce a couple seeds and some pods can produce up to 18 seeds! The fun is opening the larger pods to see how many you get.
Store your seeds in a brown envelope to store properly until you are ready for the next planting.
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