Radishes are the fast food of any veggie patch. In as little as 4-5 weeks after sowing the seed you can be crunching down on them without much effort at all. This Autumn I have been enjoying all sorts of colours and shapes and they were one of the easiest crops I have grown.
Radishes are best grown in the cooler times of the year. I find I get the best harvests if I target the months of March right through until September. If you are in the cooler areas of Australia, you can easily extend your season by a couple of months. I find that I don’t get good results in the warmer times of the year because they tend to be tough and woody and they can become quite unpalatable.
How to grow Radish
In a finely prepared soil that has plenty of compost mixed through, sow the seeds into a furrow that is 5-10 cm in depth. When sown, lightly cover with soil and water them well. It will only take a couple of days and they will emerge. When the third leaf starts to develop it is time to space them correctly by pulling the excess seedlings out of the soil. As you pull them, aim to leave just one plant every 3-5 cm so they have sufficient room to get fat.
Grow them in a soil with a pH of 6-6.5 and keep them well fed. The faster they grow the more tender they will be when you harvest, so make sure that you give them weak doses of your favourite liquid fertilizer or worm juice every couple of weeks to keep them growing fast. Radishes like to be kept moist and will grow in areas of the garden that only get 6 hours of sunlight minimum per day. So if you have a spot with limited sun they will still do well.
The biggest problem I have encountered when I grow radish is snails and slugs. They have quite an appetite and can wipe out all of your seedlings in one night. They also love the flesh of the radishes and can ruin the shape of the perfect round radish very quickly. Caterpillars like the foliage as well, though it’s nothing a dose of your favourite organic pest control won’t fix.
Here is a list of the types I grew this season:
A large growing radish that is pink in colour. I harvested the first ones after 8 weeks when they were the size of an elongated golf ball. They can grow as long as 30 cm in length if you are patient and leave them for a few weeks longer. Space this variety 5-8 cm apart in a row.
A white ball that was ready in 7 weeks. Leaves grew 30 cm in height so it is not as suitable to sow between other crops. They grew golf ball size and has a pinkish flush on the top of the radish, and when you slice it open the insides are bright pink.
As the name suggests, the skin was black, but inside the flesh was white. I found the skin a bit tough so I peeled it off. The foliage grew 30 cm in height and it was ready in 8 weeks.
A beautiful purple coloured radish that was ready in 6 weeks from sowing. It was the size of a golf ball and was 20 cm tall. It’s a good variety if you want to sow between other rows of young veggies.
Dakion Radish grows like it is on steroids. I harvested the first one 10 weeks after sowing and it was 20 cm long with a neck 6 cm in circumference. It is all white and I was pleasantly surprised how good it was to eat. I still have a few in the soil which I’ll harvest in coming days before they all get woody. The leaves reached 40 cm tall and took quite a bit of growing space. Thin these so they are spaced at 15-20 cm apart for the best results.
There is no secret to growing radish, they are a fast crop that everyone should try just for fun. Make sure you get hold of different colours and shapes, and when you harvest you can eat them raw or cook them, either way they are great. I haven’t tried it yet but I have been told the leaves are good eating too.