Radishes

radishes at a roadside market

Credit: Annette McCarthy
PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.7 of 5 (139 votes)

Botanical name: Raphanus sativus

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Any

Radishes are a hardy, cool-season vegetable that can produce many crops each season due to its rapid days to maturity. Radishes can be planted in both the spring and the fall, but growing should be suspended in the warmer months. They are a very easy vegetable to grow.

Planting

  • Sow seeds directly into the ground about 6 weeks after your last spring frost date, after aged manure or organic fertilizer has been worked into soil.
  • Direct sow seeds ½ inch to an inch deep and one inch apart in rows 12 inches apart.
  • Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Crowded plants will not grow well.
  • Radishes need sun. If they are planted in too much shade—or even where neighboring vegetable plants shade them—they put all their energy into producing larger leaves.
  • Practice three-year crop rotation.
  • Plant consecutively every two weeks or so while weather is still cool for a continuous harvest of radishes.
  • Plan on a fall planting. You can plant radishes later than any other root crop in late summer or early fall and still get a harvest.

Care

  • Radishes require well-drained soil with consistent moisture.
  • Thin radishes to about an inch apart when the plants are a week old. You will be amazed at the results.

Pests

Harvest/Storage

  • Radishes will be ready to harvest quite rapidly, as three weeks after planting for some varieties.
  • Do not leave in the ground long after mature stage, their condition will deteriorate quickly.
  • Cut the tops off short, wash the radishes and dry them thoroughly. Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
  • Radish greens can be stored separately for up to three days.
     

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘French Breakfast’ late maturing variety, does ok in moderate heat.
  • ‘Burpee White’ spring variety, white skin.

Recipes

Cooking Notes

  • ‘French Breakfast’ late maturing variety, does well in moderate heat.
  • ‘Burpee White’ spring variety, white skin.
     

Wit & Wisdom

Don’t be afraid to plant seeds that are up to five years old. All may not germinate, but you’ll have plenty that will.

Comments

I presume that all radishes

By John M on April 15

I presume that all radishes are the same. I would like to plant horseradish to harvest the roots. Does the same planting tips and schedule apply

Hi John, Horseradish is a

By Almanac Staff on April 17

Hi John,
Horseradish is a perennial and usually planted as root cuttings. Plant in a container or in a spot where they won't be disturbed, possibly in the border of the garden. Horseradish needs little or no attention in order to thrive. It likes a sunny spot and water once a week during dry spells. You can harvest horseradish one year after planting.

I just planted my radishes 2

By I Can't Tell, sorry on April 13

I just planted my radishes 2 days ago, they haven't sprouted yet. Is that normal? And not only that how much water do you water? I'm doing half a gallon or something a day, that's too much right? And I also need tips on how to not let the rabbits devour my radishes, thanks for the time!

My radishes came up...the

By Lynettebeme on April 5

My radishes came up...the stems are above the ground about an inch then the leaves begin...do I need to put more soil to the beginning level of the leaves or leave the plants as they are?

Radishes aren't very picky

By Almanac Staff on April 6

Radishes aren't very picky and they should grow easily. If the roots are above the ground, your soil might be too compact. Add some sand.

Does anyone know if the

By Tonia

Does anyone know if the radish and beet seeds I planted will survive freezing temps and light snow? I have the radishes covered with a row cover and beets covered in a hoop house. I had them in the ground maybe 6 days before the unexpected snow/freezing temps, and they had not germinated yet. Will I most likely need to re-sow?

They may have survived. Wait

By Almanac Staff

They may have survived. Wait and see if they will start growing. If they come up sparse you can fill in the gaps with more seed.

Can I cut the green leaves of

By Sanjiv Dhingra

Can I cut the green leaves of the radish while the radish is still not matured and still in the fields.

Zero. The only time you cut

By John F. Tucker on March 20

Zero. The only time you cut the radish leaves is when you harvest the tuber itself.

The leaves are the key to

By Almanac Staff

The leaves are the key to growth, so your answer is no.  Harvest as soon as roots reach edible size and harvest quickly. You can use the greens, too, in many recipes.

What about the amount of

By Cynthia Wylie

What about the amount of water? Radishes are not on your watering chart. Thank you,

Water is very important to

By John F. Tucker on March 20

Water is very important to radishes. Always water in thw morning. If yours leaves turn yellow; you have watered too much.

It really depends on your

By Almanac Staff

It really depends on your soil type; radishes need about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water a week. What's most important is to water consistently; avoid moisture fluctuations or you'll slow growth and get a bitter taste. You have watered enough if you can press a handful of soil into a firm ball and your finger marks make an imprint on the ball. Your hand will feel damp but not moist, the soil doesn’t stick to your hand, and the ball is pliable.

Hi, after 5/7 days of

By Sanjiv Dhingra

Hi, after 5/7 days of plantation small leaves are coming from the seeds.
But there are at least 15- 20 small plants as a bunch coming at a single place.

Should I remove all but one. What is the best time to remove the crowed plant's leaving only one.

Can I use the removed plant to grow somewhere else.

Regards

One way to prevent this is to

By wilkeya

One way to prevent this is to lay out a long strip of toilet paper and place seeds on it. the white background makes it easier to see the seeds and the paper detiorates rapidly.

See the planting information

By Almanac Staff

See the planting information above. (Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Crowded plants will not grow well.) No, you can't transplant but you can eat the thinnings.

I harvested seeds from my

By tam hobbs

I harvested seeds from my radish plants...I was wondering if i can use them to make sprouts or if i need "sprouting seeds"

Yes, you can save radish

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can save radish seeds and replant unless they've been cross-pollinated.

hi im a farmer in the

By Ecriton GIBSON

hi im a farmer in the Caribbean only weather we have is sun and short amount of rain I am going to try radish for first time my question is how many seeds to a hole

I planted my first garden

By Crystal M

I planted my first garden this spring. I have been watching my radishes closely. I've have about 5 that could be eaten. The rest have not developed and now plants have bloomed. What to I do? What did I do wrong? Please Help

Radishes can be eaten young

By Almanac Staff

Radishes can be eaten young -- no more than 1 inch in diameter. Radishes can bloom if the weather is too hot; some of the spring varieties do best in cool temperatures. You may need to plant this variety earlier.
Another reason that radishes don't develop is because they are seeded too closely and they are not thinned enough.

I had the oppocite problem of

By LadySharon

I had the oppocite problem of many on here. I planted carrots and radishes in alterniate rows--- but way too late. In fact I think I planted around the first week of June. The only thing that came up were three radishes all in a row. My garden is very rich and unfortunatly produces ALOT of weeds. I concentrated on weeding around my squash and potato plants and as the area of the radishes was mostly bare - let it go. I recently (this weekend) weeded that area and rediscovered the radishes. They still were nice little plants - they hadn't bolted or anything... but the radish was coming up through the ground and they were huge! One is about the size of my closed fist. My mom told me I waited too long... but the plants themselves didn't look like it --- I've never done radishes before and I guess I thought much like garlic or onion you let the tops die first. (guess not!) So.... does this mean I have alot of potassium in the soil? And my mom said they would be too tough to eat... which is why I googled harvest time. I wanted to know the time to pull them from when I first see the plant sprout so I don't have it happen again and I get nice little radishes. I'll try to plant again in the fall.

Spring radishes are ready to

By Almanac Staff

Spring radishes are ready to harvest 21 to 60 days after sowing. They mature rapidly so you do want to keep an eye on them.
The best way to determine when the radishes are ready to harvest is to simply push back a little soil to see if a bulb has grown and then pick and taste a few.
The roots are mature when they push out of the ground a little and measure about 1 inch across. 

My radishes are spicy or

By jeninjune30

My radishes are spicy or acidy. I'm not sure what I did wrong. This is my first time planting a garden.

Radishes are spicy and

By Almanac Staff

Radishes are spicy and acidic.  However, they can be "hotter" if they are growing too slowly or they are too old. Also, select a mild variety of seed.

I thinned my radishes to the

By Olivia

I thinned my radishes to the correct measurements and they look great except, they haven't rounded. They are just long and thin red roots... Is this normal, does it mean they are still growing? Cause I've already had a couple pretty good round ones... so please help!?

Radishes are a cool weather

By Almanac Staff

Radishes are a cool weather crop. In warm weather they bolt more quickly and put most of the growth into the tops. If your tops are growing and you are not getting radishes it's best to remove the plants and reseed in a shady area or wait until the weather turns colder.

Some of the radishes have

By Lawrence Sochaski

Some of the radishes have worms in them. What can be put in the soil to stop this problem or can something be sprayed on the plant.

Here are some ideas: Manual:

By Almanac Staff

Here are some ideas:
Manual: Dust plants with diatomaceous earth.
Biological: Rove beetles are predaceous on root maggots.
Chemical: Treat with a registered insecticide. Consult with your local cooperative extension or nursery.
Rotate your crops as best you can; root maggots overwinter in the soil and you want to move the host plants.

When I harvested my radishes

By AmandaDRichardson

When I harvested my radishes they were brown and not red but still white in the center. Why are they brown?

There is a radish variety

By Almanac Staff

There is a radish variety that has brown skin versus red. Otherwise, if they are nice and firm inside, we don't know.

I actually didn't need to ask

By Judy Janchosek

I actually didn't need to ask my question as for others already have. Good answers, thank you very much! I do believe my radishs have too much nitrogen. The seedlings were thinned out and in full sun, they grew fast but not many have nice radish bulbs, but tall and beautiful greens, and now starting to flower. Theones with bulbs are hard and stemmy inside, so what besides commercial fertilizer can I ammend the soil with for more potassium? thanks

Having too high a nitrogen

By Almanac Staff

Having too high a nitrogen content in the soil is the classic issue with radish growing. The most common organic sources of phosphorus include steamed bone meal, rock phosphate, and horse, cattle, or poultry manure. Just keep in mind that natural fertilizers provide relatively low amounts of nutrients, as compared to commercial fertilizer so it's more important to have the right soil from the start. If you use fertilizer, work in about 10 to 15 pounds of 5-10-5 per 1,000 square feet of garden.

can i plant a radish from the

By Brooklyn

can i plant a radish from the produce at a grocery and will it produce any radishes or do i need a package of seeds?

You direct seed radishes.

By Almanac Staff

You direct seed radishes. Make sure they get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and soil that is low nitrogen and high potassium.

How much potassium do radish

By Hahneul

How much potassium do radish seeds need to grow?

i don't understand. do i need

By Brooklyn

i don't understand. do i need seeds? or how do i get a seed from a radish? Ex I know apples, peaches, tomatoes have seeds but where are radish seeds? i know dumb questions but i'm new to this gardening thing...

You can plant the tops from

By Brittain Harris

You can plant the tops from radishes purchased at the grocery. If kept in full sun, they will flower and produce many seed pods.

Hi, Brooklyn, Ah, we think we

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Brooklyn, Ah, we think we understand what you want to know. You need to go buy a seed packet to start radishes. Buy a variety that is an "early" season radish. Plant a certain number of seeds to eat this season plus some extra that you will not pull out of the ground. Instead, you'll let these extra plants "go to seed." Let them get tall and ugly until they sprout seed "pods." Next, let the seed pods dry on the plant. When the seed pods are dry, pull them off the plant. The pods will last a while. To save the seeds, just break open the radish seed pods. You may need a nutcracker to crack them open. The tiny radish seeds are inside the pods. Save your seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to harvest.

Is production one radish per

By Ag85

Is production one radish per plant? I germinated outside of a planter bed but looks like I can plant directly in my planter bed. I'll give that a try and plant more seeds.

Most gardeners grow one root

By Almanac Staff

Most gardeners grow one root per plant. Traditionally, radish seeds are sown directly into garden soils because they mature so quickly.

I'm liking the results from

By Terry Hartz

I'm liking the results from the questions asked by folks, keep up the good work folks, you're very infomative. Thanks much!

Hear Hear! It is wonderful to

By Almanac Staff

Hear Hear! It is wonderful to see the Almanac community sharing tips and advice. With so many Web pages, we editors couldn't do it all and we learn so much from our readers, too!

Radishes are looking when we

By ChrisDelk

Radishes are looking when we pick them but in the fridge they get spongy and sometimes split open after only a couple of days. Whats up with that?
I know the ones i buy from the store are older that that but they stay good in the fridge for close to a week

Keep them in water in a

By Chevylvr85

Keep them in water in a Tupperware bowl with about an inch or so of water. This will prevent them from cracking and also keep them moist and un-squishy! Change the water if you don't eat them after a week, mine keep in water for a few weeks like this.

I planted radishes this year.

By MamawSusan

I planted radishes this year. Can I get seeds from these plants?

You can let the radish form a

By Almanac Staff

You can let the radish form a seed stalk with pods (at this point, the radish itself will not be tasty to eat), and leave them on the plant to dry as long as possible. If necessary, you can pick the maturing seed stalk and hang it up in a cool, dark, dry place to finish drying. The pods will turn brown. Once the pods are fully dry and brown, you can break open the pods (you might need to use a mallet on some of the pods), gather the seeds, and store them in a container in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 4 years. (Note that this method should work fine with an heirloom variety, but if your mother plant was a hybrid, the seeds may not produce offspring with the same features.)

seeds

By Anonymous

How far apart should I plant each seed?

In general, plant radish

By Almanac Staff

In general, plant radish seeds one inch apart. Some varieties will need more space; check the seed packet for recommendations for your particular variety.

Radishes

By Anonymous

How do you know when to harvest? I have the same issue as the previous post I think. Great looking plants, starting to flower, but no bulbous radish. Just thin red "radishy" looking roots.

Just harvest radishes as soon

By Anonymous

Just harvest radishes as soon as they reach the size you like. You may have to experiment. Pull all of them before they get tough and pithy. Trim off the tops and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator.

radishes

By Anonymous

same problem...nice plants..actually they are starting to produce seed heads..? but no bulbs just long red roots..?? can you eat radishe greens?

Shock The hot tub and yeast

By Casimira

Shock The hot tub and yeast infection Hot Tub LeaksLeaks can be an
expensive and a real pain if they are of course ideal for hydro massage.

Have a look at my web-site ... hot tub repairs devon

I would say your nitrogen is

By Anonymous

I would say your nitrogen is to high

Also if they are producing

By Anonymous

Also if they are producing seed heads I think they are to old, pick them sooner. And yes you can eat the greens, very healthy. More vitamins in the greens than the bulb.

Yes, radish greens are safe

By Almanac Staff

Yes, radish greens are safe to eat and can be stored separately for up to three days.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

In "normal" conditions, you

By Almanac Staff

In "normal" conditions, you need to check roots often for usable size (when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter) and young. Pick quickly as radishes will not remain edible for long and get spongy. If you have all tops and no bulb, the usual reasons are: 1. seeds are too crowded/lack of thinning, 2. weather too hot for spring-variety radishes.

Radishes

By Anonymous

I planted some radishes this year and over 1/2 of them grew real tall and flowered, without producing a radish! what's up with that?

All tops and no bulbs is

By Almanac Staff

All tops and no bulbs is usually because 1. they were seeded too thickly/not thinned, 2. too hot for a spring variety, or 3. too much shade. Another reason is related to the soil: too much too much nitrogen and too little potassium. Radishes prefer the opposite.

Radishes need to be planted

By Almanac Staff

Radishes need to be planted one inch away from eachother to ensure that there is enough room for the roots to grow.

Also, there's a chance that the soil is to acidic, causing only the leaves to grow. Next year, skip out on the fertilizer or test the pH levels of your soil to know how to properly create a more neutral soil.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Links to specified hosts will have a rel="nofollow" added to them.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.