The radish is a cool climate vegetable that will give you many crops in short time – we’re talking about a fast – growing vegetable here! They are very easy to grow and even easier to harvest, so if you were having doubts over whether or not to grow them in your garden, don’t hesitate.
If this didn’t convince you to start growing it, then we have another thing to say – the radish is a great companion plant that will chase away many pests from other plants nearby! Who doesn’t want a garden free of annoying pests and diseases?
1. Choose a Variety
It’s all up to your taste, but you’ll never know which type of radish is your favorite until you try few, right? There are many varieties of radish, and many of them differ in their taste, color and size. It’s good to plant few, so that you’ll know what you like the most and continue with this certain variety. One of the most popular varieties are Cherry Bell, White Icicle, Sparkler and White Beauty, to name few.
2. Check the Soil
Before you start planting, first you must make sure that the soil is right for the radishes. Start with removing the rocks, if there are any, and then test the soil to find out the pH content – it should be between 5.8 and 6.8. Next, radishes need a well – drained soil too. It would help if you add organic matter prior to planting, such as compost or manure.
3. Pick the Right Time
The radish is a cool weather crop and because of it, it’s best to plant it during spring or autumn. It’s very likely that if you plant it during hot temperatures that it won’t give you positive results. That’s why, when the weather gets really hot it’s best to stop growing and continue when the weather gets cooler. Plant your first crop two weeks before the last frost in spring and don’t worry about the frost – radishes can handle it!
4. Pick the Planting Site
This should be a place where the radishes would get plenty of sun, as they are very big fans of it! However, it’s good to provide them with partial shade if the sun gets too intense during the day. This can be very tricky, because if you leave them in shade, even if it comes from taller plants around the radishes, they will put their energy into growing bigger leaves and your crops would be smaller!
5. Use Radish as Companion Plant
This is more beneficial to the plants around the radish, than to the radish itself. We’re talking about the “companion cropping” concept that includes two different plants being planted next to each other, so that one of them is chasing away pests from the other. In our case, the radish helps in keeping many bugs away and with it it would also help the other plants to grow faster.
6. Water in Moderation
Radishes need consistent moisture, but without being waterlogged. So, keep the soil moist, but not soaked. If you water them frequently, the radishes will grow quickly, which in return would give them a better taste. If you let the radish to grow slowly, most likely you won’t like the way they’ll taste later. Make sure to water them evenly as well.
7. Thin Out Seedlings
It’s important to do this step as the seedlings germinate. You need to thin out the successful seedlings to about 5 cm apart from each other. This way you are going to make space for the bigger varieties. Cut their heads off all the way down to the soil by using a small pair of scissors.
8. Chase Away Pests
One of the best ways to prevent bugs from ruining your crops is to keep the garden clear of plant debris and weeds. However, you will see that often this isn’t enough. Every bug requires different way of handling, for example if you’re dealing with root maggots, add lime or wood ashes to the base of the radish to get rid of them, or if you’re having troubles with the flea beetle, spread diatomaceous earth that will interrupt the beetle’s life cycle.
9. Prevent Diseases
Besides the bugs, you might find yourself dealing with certain diseases that can kill your radish, such as the fungal diseases. Septoria leaf spot, downy mildew and blackleg are just few of your radish enemies, but you can control the situation as long as you take proper care. Make sure the soil is well – drained, add organic matter to the planting site, rotate the crops and remove infected radish, to name a number of the things you can do to prevent diseases affecting radish.
10. Easy to Harvest
Harvesting radish is the easiest thing to do – you don’t need any tools, just pull out the radish out of the soil with your hands and that’s it. Usually the radish is ready to harvest when the roots are about 2.5 cm in diameter. You can also push back dirt to see if there is any grown bulb and if there is, you can taste and see if they’re ready for harvest.