Looking for a fast-growing vegetable well-suited for container gardening? Then you should consider growing radishes. Radishes (Raphanus sativus / Curciferae) are versatile, peppery vegetables in the cabbage family that pack a lot of flavor into one, small, colorful package. Plus, they grow so quickly they're rarely a target for garden pests and insects.
How to Grow Radishes From Seed
Whether this is your first time growing radishes or you're just hoping to get the most from your crop this year, here are some tips that should help you get your radish seeds off to the right start.
- Because radishes are sensitive to root disturbances, sow them directly into the containers or ground in which they will grow.
- Compared to most seeds, radish seeds will tolerate relatively cool germination temperatures (down to 45°F) so you can sow them as soon as the soil is workable.
- Plant seeds in moist soil at about 1/2" deep.
- Seeds germinate quickly (4-12 days), and grow particularly well in sandy or porous soil.
Other than avoiding root disturbances, it's really not hard to successfully grow radishes. Once your seedlings are established, follow these general growing guidelines and your small sprouts should turn into mighty orbs in no time.
- To avoid cracking, water evenly and well.
To avoid overly bitter or "pithy" radishes, harvest them as soon as they are ready. Radishes left in the ground past their pull date quickly lose their good, crisp flavor and take a turn for the bitter.
- Remember that larger cultivars (like Daikon and Dragon) are slower growing, and will take longer to mature than the typical 22-30 days.
- While radishes themselves are rarely in the ground long enough to be bothered by pests, they are one of the few vegetable plants that repel insects. For a little natural protection against cucumber beetle infestation, intersperse radishes throughout your garden. (Between rows or as marker heads are popular places.)
For growing specifications for growing radishes (like preferred soil pH, planting depths and germination rates), check out the Gardening Guides page.
Images thanks to ricojensen and thea0211!