Radish Companion Planting

Companion planting with radishes makes sense, as there are many friendly neighbors that can benefit from radishes nearby.
By: Nan Chase

Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus 

Radishes have a lot of friends in the vegetable garden, so learning which plants do especially well alongside radishes can improve the quality of all sorts of crops.

Not only that, gardeners frequently use fast-growing radish seeds mixed in with the very slowest growing seeds as row markers. Examples of seeds that are slow to germinate –and thus difficult to keep track of in the garden – are carrots and beets. Chard, the bold leafy vegetable that’s closely related to beet, is another likely candidate.

As row markers, the radish seeds germinate within a week and show just where the rows ofcarrots, beets, or chard are likely to appear some weeks later. As the slower crop appears aboveground the radishes will be approaching the size to pick. Presto! You get two crops in one: freshnew radishes followed by the carrots or beets much later in the season.

Radish companion planting – as companions throughout the growing season – encompasses quitea few common vegetables:

  • Lettuce and spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Squashes
  • Parsnips
  • Beans
  • Chervil (also called French parsley)
  • Peas
  • Nasturtiums (a flower with edible leaves, seeds, and petals)

On the other hand, several crops are not recommended to be planted close to radishes:

  • Potatotes
  • Grapes
  • Turnips
  • Kohlrabi
  • Hyssop (an aromatic relative of the mint)

The trick in using radishes as companion a crop is to pay careful attention to their growth, not just to the companion crop’s growth. So, for instance, when planting radishes with lettuce or spinach, be sure to check among all those growing green leaves for the ones that are radishes…and pull them out as they mature. That will leave room for the lettuce and spinach to spread out and get bigger.

If you use radishes among peas, be sure to keep looking at ground level even as the peas take off skyward.

And don’t forget, radish greens are good to eat, especially when steamed or braised and then dressed with your favorite toppings.

Low-calorie, high fiber radishes have the reputation as a health tonic, a detoxifier that packs a lot of flavor and crunch. They also have a reputation as a “trap plant,” or one that attracts destructive insects and keeps them away from more valuable crops. Root maggots really like radishes, so the radishes, when planted along with higher-yield crops, can draw the maggots away.

Lots of flowers make good companion plants for radishes, too. Light, lacy, upward reaching flowers like cosmos, forget-me-nots, and verbena have room for some radishes planted at their lower reaches.  

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