There are over 200 varieties of radishes, although most home vegetable gardeners grow the Crimson giant, champion or the cherry belle. These three varieties look like the small round red radishes most people are accustomed to.
Whichever variety you choose to grow, the steps to ensure a great radish harvest are virtually the same. Here is how you can grow great radishes in your home vegetable garden.
Radishes are one of those vegetables that are fairly easy to grow. In fact it is not necessary to even start them indoors. Regardless of whether you are growing them in a traditional backyard garden or in pots/containers or raised beds, growing radishes from the seed started outdoors is the best way to go. They can be grown in early spring, after the last frost, or in the autumn before frost sets in and they can germinate in as little as four days in optimal conditions. Do not plant the radish seeds any deeper than 1/2".
Radishes like to grow in a soil where the pH level is neutral or as near neutral as possible. You can test your soil's pH level by using a home soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for less than a few bucks. Try to get your soil's pH level above 6.0 and near 7.0 without going over. Most kits come with recommendations as to how to make the adjustments you are looking for.
Keep the soil moist. Radishes need a moist cool environment to grow in and if you let the soil dry out, it won't be long before your radishes stop growing. A moderate watering is all they will need. Remember you are trying to keep the soil moist not saturated.
Space your radish seeds out two inches to give them room to grow and plant them in an area that receives full sun, although some varieties will tolerate light shade. When the radish tops are about two to four inches above the ground they are ready to be harvested. You do not want to leave radishes in the ground for too long as they could develop a sharp or bitter taste to them.
To improve the flavor of your radishes plant them between lettuce. They also make for good companions to beans, beets, carrots, parsnips, peas and spinach and bad companion to fennel.
As you can see growing radishes are not all too difficult. Just make sure you plant them when the weather is cool outside, keep the soil moist and harvest them when they are ready to ensure great flavor.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike`s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.