Growing Stuff – Radishes

The penultimate post in my series of five posts here to show you five of the easiest fruits and veggies to grow.

If you’ve never grown anything before, or want something quick to start on now summer is nearly here, then hopefully these posts will give you some inspiration.

So far I’ve posted on:

  1. Parsley
  2. Runner Beans
  3. Strawberries
Courtesy of Marcus Butler Photos

Courtesy of Marcus Butler Photos

Today see’s the turn of a great little root vegetable – the Radish

If you ever eat salad, chances are it will usually contain slices of little red and white radish.  They add an extra crunch to those salad leaves, make it look colourful and more importantly can sometimes (though doesn’t always have to), add a taste of heat, through the peppery flavour.

There are many varieties of radishes that are grown around the world, but for this post – I am primarily describing the European variety.

Why Grow Radishes?

Radishes are often overlooked when growing in the garden but they really shouldn’t be.  Eating just eight radishes is the the equivalent of having half an orange.  That’s about 15% of your required vitamin C.  Just from one source!  Radishes also contain various other good minerals and vitamins like calcium and vitamin B.

They can be grown pretty much all year round, especially if you can keep them in a warm area during winter.  Radishes also germinate very fast meaning they can be grown in between other crops (inter cropping), like leeks or cabbages, or just have a supply growing on your windowsill.

They grow in most soil types and will even tolerate shady areas.

In fact you can’t get a more accommodating vegetable.

How to Grow Radishes

Radishes can only really be grown from seed.

Packets of seed can be bought in the price range of anything between 29p and £2.99 depending on the variety you choose.  Some are long and less red in colour, while others are more of a globe shape and tend to be a darker shade of red.  Doesn’t matter what variety you choose as they all grow the same way.

  • If growing in the ground then just get the soil ready for planting by giving it a hoe over, making sure no weeds are going to come up.  Make a drill line if on an allotment or if, like me, you’re using raised beds, then just make 1-2cm holes (with a dibber, or occasionally just an old pen) where you want to grow the radishes.  They can be sown close together, about 2.5cm and just add one seed per hole.
  • A trough pot (you know the ones you get from certain discount shops) that are about 45cm long will allow you to plant three rows of seeds.  Or about 40 radishes.
  • Water in well and leave
  • If growing inside then stand the pots on any windowsill.  I haven’t grown anything on a north facing windowsill so I doubt germination would be successful however once germinated you could move them to a north facing windowsill.
  • A few days later shoots will begin to appear.
  • If you want a continuous crop through the summer then sow seeds every two weeks, either in a new pot, or in a new drill area in the soil.
  • Water the soil when it gets dry, don’t over water.

The crop can be harvested after three weeks.

Important bit

Even though you can harvest quickly, just pull a radish out to check before you pull a great bunch out and realise they aren’t even big enough to make a mouthful.  If it’s smaller than a 1p then carefully put it back in the soil and leave the radishes for another week.  Check again with just one radish until you are happy with the size.

Once you’ve grown some you’ll get used to knowing pretty quickly how long the radishes take to get to the desired size.

Pest and diseases

Only a problem when growing outside – slugs and snail.

Yes those blighters again.  Just check your crops regularly for any sign the slimy critters have been about.  Add slug pellets, organic based, if necessary.

If growing outside, you will probably notice small holes being to appear in the radish leaves.  Flea beetles rather like the leaves however this is only really a cosmetic issue.  They will not harm the radish roots so you can leave them to it.  Or if you don’t want to tolerate them being attacked then use some fleece, covered loosely over your crop.

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10 responses to “Growing Stuff – Radishes

  1. I’ve never really had any luck with radishes which is a pity because we all love them. I’ve sown in all different sizes of pots (the radishes almost invariably grew tall and woody, rarely forming a round root at all) AND outside, under netting and the radishes had tiny little holes in them which, I’m guessing, was caused by a root fly larvae of some sort.

    I’ve kind of given up on them now, as they are cheap enough to buy, and I am concentrating on other salad alternatives. It’s a shame really.

    • I’m really sorry to hear that. Can I ask what varieties you’ve tried to grow?
      Also did each radish have several holes or just one? If it’s many holes it may well be down to larvae or even cabbage maggots. Where were the radishes grown when the holes appeared?
      With regard to the woody aspects this really all comes down to position of plants/pots. Radishes tend to prefer cooler, less direct sun areas. They also like to be kept damp which by chance helps to keep the flea beetles away.

      Please give it one more try! I’m sure between us we can get you growing some good looking radishes to eat 🙂

      • It’s beena couple of years since I last tried to grow radish and so I can’t remember all the varieties we’ve tried but I do remember ‘Sparkler’ was one.

        The holes were each end of a tunnel which led me to think that it was a problem with larvae, rather than slug/snail damage and these radishes were grown outside, under netting.

        I suspect the indoor radishes have failed due to a beginners error (which I was at that time), as I was trying to grow them in the ‘shelter’ of the greenhouse 🙂 Oops! I may have to have a little think about how I can try to grow them in pots but in a much more appropriate setting.

        Thank you for your feedback – it is gratefully received and has proved very helpful.

      • Two yrs ago? You’re a pro now! I bet if you tried again you’d boom in radishes! Let me know how you get on though – happy to help where I can.

    • Hi Sarah, I’ve been trying to track down the name of the variety I grew last yr. I know they were French and very delicious. Pretty mild but more torpedo shaped than globe like. They would be my favourite. If I can find out – I’ll let you know. Sounds like a great excuse for a trip to the garden centre to look at seed packets 😉

  2. Pingback: Growing Stuff – Blueberries | The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog·

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