Growing radishes can be a colorful pastime. Colors range from red, pink, and white, to gray-black or yellow radishes, in varying sizes and shapes, the most popular being the red round radish.
Growing radishes in the early spring usually gives us our first crop of the year, or at least competing with leaf lettuce.
We can usually plant radishes around early to mid May and have them in salads by mid June.
Depending on the variety of radish, they mature anywhere from 25 to 45 days from when you plant them in your garden.
If you live in the Southern climates, you can plant by mid to late January. For continuous harvesting plant a new patch every 7 to 10 days.
In Northern climates, you can plant 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost and again in late August or early September for a fall crop.
Radishes can withstand some very heavy frosts.
Avoid planting in the summer as radishes are a cool weather crop and they will bolt (go to seed) rapidly in the summer’s heat.
Hot weather can also create bitter flavor and root hollows in radishes.
Some later maturing varieties, such as Icicle or French Breakfast, are able to withstand summer heat, so can be planted later in the spring for a summer harvesting.
Winter radish varieties take longer to mature than radishes planted in the spring, so planting them in mid-August is recommended.
WHERE TO PLANT
Radishes do well in an area that has at least 6 hours of sun daily, but some shade is OK in the afternoon too.
As mentioned above, radishes prefer cool weather, so some shade is OK if your weather is going to get too warm by harvest time.
Radishes, like most root crops, like well-drained soil. And like most root crops, they like the soil loosened deep enough for them to reach their roots deep into the soil.
Plant your radishes, if you are able to, in sandy soil that also has a good amount of organic matter. Adding compost will give you the needed organic matter.
PREPARING YOUR SOIL
Radish grow best in a soil with a pH balance in the range of 5.8 to 6.8, although the optimal range is 6.0 to 6.5.
Use a pH tester to check your soil’s pH balance. If it’s too alkaline (above 6.8), add enough sulphur to bring it down below that level.
If it’s too acidic (below 5.8), adding lime is the simplest way to raise the pH of your soil quickly.
Before planting radishes, rototill 2 to 4 inches of well-aged compost into the soil. This should give you most of the nutrients your radishes will need for their short growing season. A handful of bone meal also helps every couple of feet down the rows as well.
After tilling your soil, smooth it out, removing rocks, sticks, or other debris in preparation for planting.