Radishes are an undemanding plant that won’t take too long to mature. There is such a wide variety of radish to choose from. And it’s great because you can plant and harvest radishes several times in any planting season. However, since you can’t see what’s going on in the soil, it’s hard to tell when to pick the radish. With that in mind, we have prepared a guide to help you. Here’s what you need to know about planting and harvesting radishes.
How Long Do Radishes Take To Grow?
It usually won’t take long before you can harvest your radish. Radishes can go from seed to pot in three weeks for most varieties. However, some may take up to five weeks or longer before they are ready.
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Here are some examples of maturity dates for a few varieties of radish.
This heat resistant variety can take up to 21 days to mature.
Sparkler white top
It takes about 24 days for this sweet tasting crossbreed radish variety to reach maturity.
This is one of the larger varieties and can take up to 55 days to maturity.
A mild radish variety that takes about 50-60 days to mature.
When To Pick Radishes
Here’s how you can tell if your radish plants are ready for harvesting.
You will know when the radishes are ripe for picking when their roots have grown to about one inch long.
To check the length of the roots, you will have to sacrifice one plant. You simply yank it out and see how long the little tail on the plant is. If it’s less than an inch, then you have to wait for maybe a week longer. And then yank another one again about a week later to check.
Pushing out of the soil
When they are big enough, you will see a bit of the radish trying to break free from the soil. A little bit of the top part will start bulging out and protruding out of the earth.
Up to 4 inches in diameter
A third way to tell is by looking at the diameter of the radish. The size at maturity will differ for each variety. The smaller radishes can get up to 1 inch thick. The bigger ones might grow to a diameter of about 4 inches.
So check the expected diameter on the seed packet and compare it with the sacrificial plant you pulled out from the ground.
Another way to tell is by scraping off a bit of the soil around the foliage until you can see the radish. You’ll be able to tell how big it is without disturbing the plant.
It’s advisable not to leave the radish in the soil for too long. Your best bet is to pick them as soon as they reach maturity. If you wait, the roots get very tough, and the taste becomes even tangier and spicier. If you leave them in the soil for too long, you won’t be able to eat them at all.
How To Harvest Radishes
Hold the plant by the base of the foliage and pull it out of the soil. Hold onto it firmly enough so you can pull, but be careful not to remove the foliage away from the roots; otherwise, it won’t be easy to harvest. If it doesn’t budge, you can use a small gardening hand tool to loosen the soil out a little bit.
As mentioned before, you can’t let them stay in the ground for too long. Therefore, you have to harvest the mature crop all at once. The good thing is radish freezes quite well, so you don’t have to worry about throwing it away. You can even keep it fresh in the fridge for two weeks.
Once you pick your radishes, trim off the top, then wash and freeze to keep them fresh for longer.
The leafy green part of the radish is also edible. You don’t have to throw it out.
How To Grow Radishes
It is essential to know how to grow radishes if you want to get a good harvest. Here’s what you need to know about growing radishes the right way.
When to plant
You can plant radishes all year round. However, when it’s scorching, you may want to hold off on planting radish seeds as the temperature is usually too high.
You also have to read the seed packaging to see the recommended planting season for that particular variety.
Where to plant
Radish grows well in many soils. But since it is a root plant, it will grow better in loose soils with higher drainage. Compact ones like clay don’t really promote a good harvest.
That’s said, before you plant, make sure you loosen your soil well. You can add some sand to the soil if it’s too compact. That way, you prevent it from clumping together. This is very important so that the radish roots can find the room to grow.
You may want to add some organic matter to the soil to help loosen it up slightly.
If you don’t prepare the soil to perfection, you will get deformed radishes. This is because the plant might have to twist and turn to find their way. The goal is to produce nicely shaped radishes, so you have to make sure the soil is perfect.
How do I know if I’ve done enough on the soil?
To find out if your soil is now ready for your seeds, you only have to sink your hand into the ground. If it passes through easily, that means the soil is okay.
If, however, you can’t pass your hand right through, you’ve still got some more work to do.
How to plant
After you have prepared the soil, you can plant your radish seeds directly into the soil. There is no need for transplanting. That’s because if you disturb the roots, your plants may not grow as expected.
To get the best results from your seeds, try to space them adequately. As a rule of thumb, maintain a spacing of 1 to 4 inches in between plants. This will help to avoid competition among your crops.
Remember not to put them too deep inside. About half an inch deep is close enough to the surface for the seeds to grow.
You will start to see the new shoots about 45 days in. If they are too close together, you may have to thin them out.
When you’ve planted, put a bit of mulch on the plants to help them fair better in both hot and cold temperatures.
What to look out for when you plant radishes
Pest and disease
You should watch out for pests and diseases that commonly attack radishes. Here are a few examples.
• Root maggot
• Flea beetles
Keeping the plants moist is a priority. It’s essential to ensure that the plants get just the right amount of moisture. Just enough to keep it moist but not so much that it rots. About 1 to 2.5 inches deep soaking will do.
Because radish is a root plant, it doesn’t grow too much on top. Any weeds will quickly outshine the radish leaves and end up competing for nutrients. That’s why you should keep the area completely clean without any weeds.
Radishes do better in direct sunlight. So avoid planting them in shady areas.
Handy tips for radish gardening
Take care of the soil
If you notice some crusting or drying out, gently put your fingers through the soil to air in. If the soil compacts or starts to become crusty, they won’t be enough room for the radishes to grow.
Don’t put too much nitrogen fertilizer. This won’t make your radish roots grow any bigger. In fact, it might just do the opposite. Using too much nitrogen-based fertilizer will make the leaves very big, but it won’t do much for the roots.
Also, use organic matter sparingly because it can have the same effect.
Grow your radishes together with a different plant. The other plant will help to ward off pests. Useful companion plants for your radish include cucumber and squash.
You can also grow the radishes together with other root plants like carrots. The radish will help loosen up the soils so the other plants can grow. You will harvest your radish way before the carrots are anywhere near maturity, so there won’t be any competition.
Growing radish is a reasonably easy and straightforward process. With the right conditions, you can harvest your crop in 21 to 60 days.
It requires a little trial and error to find out when they are ready; just yank one out to see if it’s ready to use. Once they are big enough, harvest your crop and enjoy a variety of radish dishes.
Just remember not to leave your crop in the ground for too long, or you risk losing all of it.
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