How to grow radishes from seed. Home grown radishes are a summer delight when tossed in a salad. Radish is a popular root vegetable used to bring a bit of zing to salads. Just like carrots and beetroots, these root vegetables are also easy to grow and have an earthy flavour.
Radish seeds can be sown in pots or directly in the ground. Below is a guide to grow radishes in pots. However, if you have a vegetable plot, you can use the guide below to grow radishes from seed in the garden.
Grow Radishes from Seeds
Growing radish is simple and has two main benefits:
- Since radishes are a root vegetable, they absorb quite a bit of the soil’s nutrition. When grown next to carrots, beetroots or other root vegetables, you have to feed the soil with nutrients on a regular basis. Therefore, when you grow radishes from seed in a container, they do not have to compete with neighbouring vegetables for nutrients.
- Radishes grown in a container are easier to spot and harvest. You will not have to dig around the lush foliage to find them.
Below is a list of items you will need when you decide to grow radishes from seed:
- Radish seeds that are non genetically modified.
- Nutrient rich compost that is suitable for vegetables.
- A couple of medium sized planting pots with drainage holes.
- A small set of garden tools that you can use in your vegetable beds.
The Best Time to Grow Radishes
Radishes grow very fast. The best time to grow radish in the UK is April. They can be grown throughout late spring and early summer. Therefore, do not worry it you are reading this post in May or June. You still have time.
In the US and Canada, check the zone you are in because frost kills the early radish shoots. Hence, sow the radish seeds once risk of cold temperature and frost has disappeared.
Related Article: How to Fenugreek from Seeds
Steps to Grow Radishes in the UK
- Soak a handful of radish seeds overnight in cold water. Soaking them overnight rehydrates the seeds. This in turn will speed up the germination process.
- Fill the planting pots with compost. Since radishes are dwarf root vegetables, you can fill ¼ of the pot with small stones or dry straw, then fill the pot ¾ of the way up with nutrient rich compost.
- Radishes grow about 1 to 1½ inches wide, therefore when you are sowing the radish seeds, keep 4 inches between them. Give each radish seed enough space to grow. By doing so, you will save yourself some time as you will not need to thin out the sprouts once they start to grow.
- Evenly spread the radish seeds in the pot keeping them 4 inches apart. Cover the seeds with approximately 1 inch of compost and water it.
- Radish enjoys a part sunny, part shady location. Therefore, move the pot to a location that is not sunny all the time.
- The seeds will start to sprout in about 2 weeks’ time and take approximately 6 weeks to provide you with an edible radish.
- Water the pot regularly so that the soil does not dry out.
How to Harvest Radish
Radish is best eaten when it is around one inch in diameter. The longer you keep the radish in the ground, the stringier it becomes. Therefore, harvest them before they grow too much.
Harvesting radish leaves is fairly simple. Pick the mature leaves of the plant as they grow. However, keep the stem intact to allow more leaves to grow.
Radishes grown at home have a short lifespan. As a result, keep the radishes in the fridge and eat them within 3 days of harvesting. Radishes do not freeze well. You can freeze them, however they taste odd when they defrost.
Allow a couple of the radishes to overgrow. The overgrown radishes will flower and produce seeds. If you leave the seeds to form, they can be dried and used in the following year’s growing season. This of course will depend on the quality of the initial seeds.
Most genetically modified seeds do not end up producing seeds that will germinate in the future. Therefore, when you are buying seeds, try to purchase the initial seed that is of a high quality and non genetically modified.
Easy Recipe using Radishes
Did you know radish leaves are also edible? They are often used in Indian vegetarian cooking and add a unique texture and flavour to curries.
Curried Radish Leaves
For this recipe you will need the following:
- Bowl full of chopped radish leaves
- 3 – 4 radishes finely sliced
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
- 1 medium sized ripe tomato, diced
- A small onion finely diced
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
- Whole cumin seeds approximately ½ teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Finely chopped green chilli
- Salt to taste
Warm the oil, add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Then add the ginger, garlic, chopped chilli and cumin seeds. Sauté for a two more minutes.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and turmeric, salt and coarse black pepper. Sauté for another minute or two.
Toss in the spinach and radish leaves, and cook until they are fully done. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the salt according to your taste.
Serve with homemade fresh roti or naan bread.
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Environmental Benefits of Growing Radishes at home
Radishes are native to the cold environment. They have been cultivated in the UK for many years. Therefore, their food miles are not as bad other vegetables. However, when you grow radishes from seed in the garden, you are using less water than industrially grown radishes. Growing them at home also reduces packaging waste because radishes are sold in plastic packaging.
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