How to Plant Radishes
Botanical Name: Rhaphanus sativus
It’s important to read seed packets carefully before planting radishes. That’s because different varieties do best when planted at different times of the year and require growing periods from 21 days to 120 days to maturity.
In general, though, the familiar reddish-pink salad radishes grow best when planted in early spring or fall, as soon after winter as soil can be worked or well after soil has begun to lose the summer’s heat. In just a few weeks the radishes will be ready to eat, so horticulture experts commonly recommend not planting all the seeds at once, but instead sowing them in batches every two or three weeks for much of the growing season. The result: a continuous supply of garden-fresh radishes for the table.
How to plant radishes? Simple: radishes are always grown from seed sown directly in the ground. They don’t need to be started indoors and transplanted.
It’s best to begin with soil that has been worked thoroughly so that it is loose and friable. That way the developing radish roots – the crisp and peppery roots – don’t become misshapen by having to grow around rocks or other impediments. Radishes planted in stony or hard soil may have a lot more side roots, too, instead of one well-formed root.
As a guide to radish planting, use plenty of organic material like rotted leaf mold to loosen clay soil, but don’t fertilize too much with strong nitrogen fertilizers. An excess of nitrogen in the soil leads to heavy growth of the greens on top but not much root development where it’s needed.
The next step in radish planting is to rake the soil to eliminate any large dirt clumps. Then sow seeds ½ inch deep and about ¾ inch apart, in rows that are eight to 12 inches apart. When you have covered the seeds with soil, tamp the soil down slightly. Then water gently.
Radish plant growth is super-fast. The seeds germinate in as few as four or five days.That’s why radishes are often grown along with some slow-germinating crops – carrots or beets, for instance – and used as row markers (then harvested and eaten).
When planting radishes alone in rows, start thinning the little plants when they show two complete sets of real leaves. The ideal distance is to thin them to two inches apart. Then there will be room for the roots to get nice and round without crowding.
Plant radishes if you’re looking for efficiency in the garden. Their quick and easygrowing habits produce a delicious and healthy crop.