When most people think of radishes (Raphanus sativus), they usually picture the small, round, red, and tangy root vegetable (like the one in the picture), but did you know that there are actually several different varieties that come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors?
These annual vegetables are part of the same family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collards, and they can be planted in the spring for a spring harvest or in late summer for a fall harvest. The best part is that they have a quick growth rate with some smaller varieties maturing in as little as 30 days! So whether you’re a fan of the classic red radish or you’re interested in exploring the many different options out there, the radish plant is definitely worth checking out.
Most common radish varieties:
- Red radish
- black radish
- Daikon radish
- french breakfast radish
Are you interested in growing your own radish plants? It’s easier than you might think! To ensure that your radishes grow big and healthy, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First of all, make sure they get enough sunlight, plant them in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry or too wet (same goes for garlic), and be sure to watch the temperature – radishes like it between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soil: radishes thrive in soil that is nutrient-rich, has a loose and crumbly texture, and drains water well. The soil pH level should be slightly acidic to neutral.
- Water: Radish plants require around 1 inch of water per week to maintain healthy growth. If the soil becomes too dry, it can cause the plant to go to seed prematurely and negatively impact the flavor of the radishes, making them tough and pithy.
- Temperature: Radish plants prefer temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with the low 60s being the optimal range. Hot weather can cause the radish plants to bolt prematurely and can negatively impact the quality of the radishes.
- Light: Radish plants thrive in full sunlight, which means they need at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they’ll focus more on growing leaves than roots, which isn’t what we want!
Radishes are pretty easy to grow either from seeds or from scraps. To start, take a whole radish and remove the stems and leaves. Stick three toothpicks into the radish and place it on the rim of a glass filled with water. Add more water as needed and place the glass in a sunny window. In a week or so, you should see roots and leaves starting to grow. Once the radish has grown roots and leaves, transfer it to a flower pot filled with soil, keeping it in a warm, sunny window and watering as necessary. Just be sure to keep it out of your pet’s reach!
Check out our full guide on growing radishes!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do radishes need sun?
Definitely. Radishes grow best in a location that receives plenty of direct sunlight for at least six hours every day.
Can you eat radish leaves?
Radish leaves are edible and have a flavor that resembles mustard greens. You can incorporate them into your diet in a variety of ways, such as adding them to salads, soups, casseroles, or cooking them as a side dish by sautéing or steaming.
Is radish eaten raw or cooked?
Absolutely. Radish can be eaten both raw and cooked. It can be added to salads, sandwiches, and as a topping for tacos or toast, while it can also be roasted, grilled, or pickled as a side dish.