Growing radishes is the perfect choice for a child’s first garden. They are very easy to grow and develop in just a few weeks. Once you know how to grow radishes, you’ll want to keep a bed of them in rotation all year round as weather permits in order to enjoy their crisp, spicy goodness.
Radishes come in both spring and winter varieties, and do best in cool weather.
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When to plant radish seed depends on whether you're planting for a spring, summer, or winter harvest, but the timing is generally April through September, two to three weeks before the first and last frosts. Plant radish seeds one half inch deep (13 mm) and one inch (2.54 cm) apart in rows that are ten to sixteen inches (25 to 41 cm) apart, adding an organic garden fertilizer after planting.
Radishes aren’t too fussy about their growing conditions, but well drained rich soil and partial shade to full sun will ensure a bumper radish crop. However, radishes only like a lot of sunshine during cool weather.
If your radishes are a summer crop, they may be planted alongside other vegetables such as beans and peas whose growth will provide them with some shade.
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Once radish seed have begun to sprout, you'll want to thin them until you have one plant left every two inches along the row.
Keep the radish bed well-mulched to help keep the soil cool and moist as high temperatures and lack of moisture can change their taste and texture.
Radishes are quick to reach a usable size, and they are as easy to pick as they are to grow. Pull the radishes when they are about one inch in diameter, as at this size they are still young and tender.
Keep a close watch on radishes reaching harvest age, as they can change from crisp and tender to spongy and foul-tasting in a matter of days.
To store radishes, wash the roots and trim off both the taproot and the green leafy tops, then place cleaned, trimmed radishes in plastic bags in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to a month.
For freezing, choose well-formed radishes with no black spots. Do not peel, but cut into smaller pieces and blanch in boiling water for two to three minutes. Plunge into cold water, then drain, place in bags or containers, and place in freezer. Be aware that radishes that have been frozen will have a different texture from fresh radishes.
Radish seed are viable for four years.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Radishes. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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