Radishes are easy, uncomplicated and quick to grow, producing a crop in only 3-4 weeks. Even their young leaves are edible! They are delicious in salads, adding a fresh hot flavor and a decorative bright pink colour. There are many different varieties you can grow, including summer and winter varieties, Chinese or Mooli radish which tend to have longer roots, and podding radish which are grown not for the root but the seed pods and have a similar flavor to traditional radish. Pink Beauty is a small round radish which matures very quickly and Scarlet Globe is a good variety to grow outdoors. Growing them from seed couldn’t be simpler – here is a short guide to how to do it.
How to Do It
Radishes can be grown outdoors in rows or indoors on window sills or pots. They tend to prefer to be grown in dappled shade, as too much direct sunlight can encourage the plants to bolt. First, prepare the bed on a dry day by raking the soil to remove any large clumps of soil, stones and any weeds. Once the soil is raked to a fine tilth, create a drill using the edge of a trowel. To make sure you sow in a straight line, use a length of string attached to a cane at each end of the row. Sow the seeds individually, spacing them according to the packet. Lightly cover the seeds with soil and water well. Make sure you keep the soil moist if the weather is dry. The seeds should take around ten days to germinate. However hard you try to space out the seeds when sowing, you will find that you need to thin them out. Do this when the seeds are just big enough to handle, leaving around 3cm between each seedling. Look after your seedlings by regularly hoeing to remove any weeds which will compete with them for water and nutrients.
The radishes should be ready to harvest after about four weeks. Radishes are best eaten when they are young. If they are left in the ground for too long they tend to develop a rather woody texture and a bitter taste. As a general rule, each radish should be about 2cm in diameter when harvested.
You can also grow radishes very successfully in garden planters such as window boxes, troughs and large pots. It is the perfect solution if you are short on space, or don’t have a designated vegetable garden. It is also a good way to introduce children in growing their own food, as containers are easily accessible and radishes, as I mentioned earlier, are very easy and quick to grow.
Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture.