How to grow radish?

reginaaginar(5b/6a)December 5, 2007

I love radish and it is supposed to be such an easy vegetable to grow. But I have little luck with radish in last couple of years. All I grow are greens and little or no roots.

What are the tricks to to having a good crop of radish in the coming year?


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Variety -- there are spring/summer type European radishes, or "salad" type radishes, fall/winter storage type European radishes, like "Black Spanish," and Oriental/Asian type radishes, like Daikon.

The easiest to grow are the spring type salad radishes. The hardest are the Oriental/Asian types, which won't do well with too much heat.

All of them need loose, rich but not too rich soil, lots of water. Fall/Winter radishes and Oriental Radishes have to be planted in mid to late summer, so that they can mature in the cooler fall weather. MOST varieties of these will bolt to seed if planted in spring.

All radishes need full sun. Avoid crowding -- thin to two inches apart for salad radishes and four to 12 inches, depending upon variety, for the storage and Asian types.

Poor or no root development is probably as a result of too little sun, overcrowding, inadequate moisture, or improper environmental conditions, such as too much heat, during growth.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 1:46PM
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faithling(z4 VT)

Focus on spring and fall crops. Plant as early as possible in spring -- as soon as ground can be worked and keep planting every week or two. If you wait to plant on memorial day, for most common varieties of radish, it will be too hot for them to grow well.

For your zone, you can plant in late August or early September for harvest in October/Nov, and even in Dec with a little protection. Radishes much prefer cold weather to hot. Keep in mind that fall plantings grow slower due to shorter days and can be hard to get started during warm, late summer weather. But get a lot of seed (it's cheap) and keep planting until it takes. It's well worth the effort if you like radishes.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 2:28PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

In a seed catalog I recently received, it indicated that planting radishes too deep will result in them not forming round radishes. I've not heard that before. It may explain why I can plant a row and have some be fine and others not. I often pop seeds in when there is an open area in the garden and don't take much care with them at all. I'm going to cover seeds more carefully now and keep them shallow. We'll see if this is the answer.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 3:13PM
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I have only had success planting radishes for fall harvest. Figure your average first frost, then back out 2 months. My frost date is (theoretically) Sept 15, so I try to plant in mid July. Okay, I try to plant by the first of August. This also works nicely in my climate because July and August are the rainy season here, and I don't have to water the new plantings as much.

I have planted both spring and fall (Black Spanish) radishes this way.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 6:14AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Funny, I can't grow small spring radishes and have given up trying. But the big Asian varieties do great for me as a fall crop.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 6:27AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Failure to "bulb up" is a fairly common problem with radishes. It happens to some gardeners a lot and to others only occasionally or never. With me, it's occasional.

Lately, I've focused on two things, early thinning, to make sure the radishes are never in competition with each other, and growing them fast. Growing them fast means keeping a steady supply of moisture and giving them a bit of fertilizer. I plant the seeds at least 1/2" deep. Otherwise they don't get anchored and tip over, making deformed roots as they grow on.

Floating row cover has given me my best crops. It helps maintain uniform moisture and it keeps insects off, especially the dreaded fly which produces root maggots. Those pests have ruined many a crop of radishes. I'm through taking chances.

Good luck with your radishes everyone. They are so good.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 1:25PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Radish likes a cold weather start, plants seeds as soon as the ground is workable. Plant no deeper than the diameter of the seed,
DO NOT use high nitrogen fertilizer, they do best with out any fertilizer

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 5:56PM
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Think the biggest problem is thinning. Best to space out seed carefully and thin to a couple of inches apart as soon as they come up. They are just not going to produce round roots if they are crowded. (same for all root crops - very important for carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips....)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 4:45PM
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Thanks for all the great replies.
Now I think I know where I was going wrong. I was sowing them thick and not thinning them. I did not water them consistently once they grew out of control. Floating row cover would be a good idea since my plants got heavily invaded with insects.I did not know at the time that they produced root maggots. yuck!
Also, I always got a "little" late planting them in the spring. and kept on trying in the summer and gave up by the time fall came. Now I will try in fall rather than in summer:)
And yes, the variety. I had been usually trying the Asian varieties. I did not know that they were hard to grow.
Now here is the question. Can radishes be grown only in full sun or in partial sun too. I had grown mine in a partially shaded spot and in full sun too and non did well.
Also, what varieties are delicious as well as the easiest to grow? What has been your experience with growing them? Any suggestion regarding which varieties should I be trying in my zone and at what time of the year?
Now I Know I should be avoiding Daikon. I had been planning it for 2008.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 1:16PM
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I've had good luck with French Breakfast radishes. They're longish with red tops and white bottoms. Even if they come up small, you'll still get *something*. I'm into container gardening now, and had problems getting them to develop. Since radishes are a root crop, I'm thinking they need a little extra phosphorus, so this year I will throw in some bone meal. We shall see...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 2:57PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

In August I planted Easter Egg radishes for the first time. I planted more every week for the next month. Your 5a/6b is similar to mine, just a tad warmer by you. E.Egg is a mix of 4 different varieties, white, red, pink, and purple. That gives you a bit of diversity and protection if conditions are wrong for one. I took my time planting and set the seeds individually about 1.5 inches apart. Took a bit longer than my usual "shake and pour" method but I more than made up the time with no need to thin. They grew great and the multicolor harvest was beautiful. Best radishes I ever grew. I'd say it was the weather, spacing, and luck, as much as the Easter Egg mix. And I still wonder if some of my problems in the past weren from planting too deep. Gonna experiment with that next year :)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 4:58PM
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faithling(z4 VT)

I usually grow the small, red-skinned, fast-growing type like Cherry Belle (21 days). They're great when you pick them at the right time but if they get a little old, are no longer good. Last year for the first time grew German Giant Radish from Pine Tree Seeds (37 days) and was very impressed. The radishes kept a good texture and taste for a long time even after warm weather arrived.

BTW, my favorite way to eat radish is for breakfast the French way. On a buttered slice of good, crusty bread, put a layer of sliced radishes, fresh-picked-from-the-garden, and grate a little sea salt on top. So simple and surprisingly good! I also like a variation of the same, substituting butter with fresh goat cheese (chevre) and extra V olive oil. Yum! It's the taste of spring!

If you have time and space, it's fun to let radishes go to seed. Pick the plump seed pods while they're green and tender and use them in asian-style stir frys.

Here is a link that might be useful: German Giant Radish

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 11:04PM
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mommabarb(southern ontari)

Hi trying to grow radishes tops are full and green , very tiny radish below or nothing at all. What am I doing wrong and how to correct thanks Mommabarb

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Did you not read this thread, mommabarb?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 1:32PM
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I tried growing Radish for the first time this year. I planted on April4th (zone 7) directly into the ground.. I did not thin them... and they produced a nice crop of round crisp radishes. I harvested them about 2 weeks ago.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 9:31PM
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