Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are annual or biennial brassicaceous crops grown for their swollen tap-roots which can be globular, tapering or cylindrical. The root skin colour ranges from white through pink, red, purple, yellow and green to black but the flesh is usually white. Smaller types have a few leaves about 13 cm (5 in) long with round roots up to 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter or more slender, long roots up to 7 cm (3 in) long. Both of these are normally eaten raw in salads. A longer root form, including oriental radishes, daikon or mooli and winter radishes, grows up to 60 cm (24 in) long with foliage about 60 cm (24 in) high with a spread of 45 cm (18 in). The flesh of radishes harvested timely is crisp and sweet, but becomes bitter and tough if the vegetable is left in the ground for too long. Leaves are arranged in a rosette. They have a lyrate shape, meaning they are divided pinnately with an enlarged terminal lobe and smaller lateral lobes. The white flowers are borne on a racemose inflorescence. The fruits are small pods which can be eaten when young.
HOW TO GROW
Decide what variety of radishes you want to plant. Like many vegetables, there are innumerable varieties of radishes at your disposal, both hybrid and open-pollinated. If you are a novice gardener, consider growing Cherry Belle radishes; they mature in just 22 days and have a pleasant, mild flavor.
- Spring radishes are the types that people are most familiar (like the Cherry Belle radish, which is the the red on the outside, white on the inside one). You want to make sure that you’re growing these in spring or fall. They tend to be the fastest growing radish, as well.
- Typically the summer radish is similar to the spring radish, but tends to grow more slowly, taking around 6-8 weeks to mature.
- The winter radish is much larger and starchier than the spring and summer radishes and takes longer to grow. It’s best to sow it in late summer for a fall or winter harvest. Winter radishes include Daikon, and Champions. Daikon, which can grow to 18 inches (45 cm) long, takes 60 days to mature.
Pick the right site for growing. Radishes should be planted in an area with full sun or partial shade, and loose, well-drained soil. Remove any rocks from the soil, as the roots will bifurcate around any rocks in their way. Add organic matter to the soil before planting.
- Make sure your radishes are getting plenty of sunlight. Otherwise they will grow big on top and very small in the root section. However, you do need to remember that the hotter the soil, the hotter the radish, which is one reason why you shouldn’t plant radishes during the main part of the summer. Another reason is that radishes will go to seed if given too much sunlight.
- The soil needs to be free of rocks, well-drained and have a pH contentbetween 5.8 and 6.8. You should make sure to use lots of organic matter (like compost) in the soil.
Schedule your radish plantings. Radishes are a cool weather crop. Growing radishes during the hot summer months will cause them to bolt.
- Stop growing when hot weather shows up. This basically means that if you’re having consecutive days of 60 °F (16 °C) or above you should hold off on your radish planting until it gets cooler.
- The schedule for a typical spring radish has it that germination occurs in about 5 days, with the harvest occurring in 3 to 4 weeks.
- Because radishes grow so quickly, they will act as convenient row markers in your garden, so consider inter-cropping them with slow-growing vegetables
Sow the radish seeds. You will want them to be about 1/2 inch (12.5 mm) deep and 1 inch (25 mm) apart. As they germinate, thin the successful seedlings to about 2 inches (5 cm) apart, allowing more space for bigger varieties. Rows should be planted about 1 foot (30 cm) apart.
- You will want to thin the radishes when they have grown about 1 inch. Aim to just cut off their heads with a small pair of scissors, all the way down to the soil.
- If you’re planting a large radish you will want to plant the seeds about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch deep.
- Radishes work well as companion plants, because they keep a lot of the bugs off the regular plants and they grow more quickly. Plant them alongside carrots, parsnips, and cabbages.
Water the radishes as they grow. Keep the radish beds moist, but not soaked. Watering radishes frequently and evenly will result in quick growth; if radishes grow too slowly, they will develop a hot, woody taste. Add compost to the radish bed as desired.
- If you don’t water them evenly (for example, not watering for a few days and then drowning them) the radishes can crack.
Harvest the radishes. Radishes are ready to harvest when their roots are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, although you should refer to the seed packet for the time to maturity as well. To harvest, lift the entire plant out of the ground with your hand.
- You can also push back the dirt and see if a bulb has grown. If so, pull a few radishes and taste them. That will let you know if they’re ready to be harvested.
- Unlike many root vegetables, radishes cannot be left in the ground, as doing so will cause them to become tough and pithy.
- Radishes require well-drained soil with consistent moisture. Keep soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
- Thin radishes to about an inch apart when the plants are a week old. You will be amazed at the results.
- Cabbage Root Maggot
- Radishes are very good for the liver and stomach, and it acts as a powerful detoxifier too. That means that it purifies the blood and eliminating toxins and waste. It is extremely useful in treating jaundice because it removes bilirubin and also keeps its production at a stable level.
- As such a good detoxifier, it helps heal the symptoms of piles very quickly.
- Radishes are diurectic in nature, which means that they increase the production of urine. Juice from radishes also cures inflammation and a burning feeling during urination.
- They are also low in digestible carbohydrates, high in roughage and contain a lot of water, making radishes a very good dietary option for those who are determined to lose weight. Furthermore, they are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which means that they increase regular bowel movements, which helps in weight loss, and increases the efficiency of the metabolism for all bodily processes.
- Radishes are a very good source of potassium, which contributes to a large list of health benefits. Potassium has been positively connected to reducing blood pressure.