To grow radishes, first, select a full-sun planting location in your garden. Then, till the soil to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) and mix compost into the soil. Once your garden bed is prepared, plant radish seeds when the outdoor highs are between 50–65℉ (10–18℃) in spring or fall. Seeds should be planted in rows and covered with ½-inch (1 cm) of soil. Water the seeds to keep the soil moist and thin the radish sprouts once they develop their first true leaves. Continue watering, weeding, and monitoring radishes for pests. Begin harvesting radishes 3 weeks after planting and harvest all radishes by the time they are 5 weeks old. This ensures you get a full crop of edible root vegetables.
How Do You Start Growing Radishes?
To start growing radishes, begin planning your garden in late winter or very early spring. Radishes enjoy cool weather and will not produce edible roots in warm weather. So, to grow radishes in spring, you need to start while the ground is still cool.
- To start growing radishes, plan a cool-season garden.
- Radishes only produce edible roots in cool temperatures, such as in spring or fall.
- You cannot grow edible radishes during the summer heat.
If the optimal spring planting time for radishes has passed, you can plant and grow radishes in the fall. Just wait until the summer heat begins to drop off, then begin planting in August or September for a fall radish crop.
Where Do Radishes Grow Best?
Radishes are extremely versatile and can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 10. This means you can grow radishes in almost every area of the United States. However, the optimal growing season for radishes depends on your location. In very warm regions, you may need to plant radish seeds in late winter, as early as February. While in cooler climates you may not plant your radishes until April or May.
- Radishes can be successfully grown in almost any region of the US.
- In warm regions, radishes should be planted in very early spring and late fall.
- In cooler regions, you should plant radishes in late spring and early fall.
Radishes can be grown throughout the world. So, it’s truly all about timing. Choose to plant when temperatures will be above freezing but below 80℉ (27℃) for the next 3–5 weeks. This is enough time for you to grow and harvest your radish crop.
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7 Steps to Grow Radishes Without a Hassle
Radishes are delicious root vegetables. They’re simple to grow and you will know within just a few weeks if your first attempt at growing radishes was a success. Here’s how to grow your own radishes:
Choose a Planting Location
Before you can begin planting, it’s essential to know the sun requirements for radishes. Choose a sunny area of your garden so that your radishes grow quickly. It’s essential to provide radishes with morning sun, so a garden bed with eastern exposure is a great choice. It’s also a good idea to plant radishes in an area with some afternoon shade, to prevent excessive heat from ruining the flavor of your radishes.
- Grow radishes in an area of your garden that receives full sun.
- Garden beds that receive morning sun and light afternoon shade are best.
- Radishes can be grown very close together—you can start by growing radishes in a small corner of your garden or a single raised bed.
You do not need a large garden area for radishes. Your radish plants will be grown 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart in rows spaced 8–12 inches (20–30 cm) apart. This means you can grow 40 radishes in an area 5 feet long and less than 2 feet wide (150 by 60 cm). Set aside a small area if you’re new to growing radishes.
Prepare the Soil
Radishes need loose, fertile soil in order to thrive. To prepare your garden bed for radishes, loosen the soil to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm). You can loosen a small garden bed with a shovel, rake, or hoe. For larger garden areas, use a rototiller.
- Loosen the soil where you will be growing radishes to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm).
- You can use gardening tools to loosen the soil, or a rototiller.
- Spread a 1-inch (2.5 cm) layer of this organic compost over the loosened soil.
- Mix the compost into the loosened soil to provide fuel for growing radishes.
After loosening the soil, it’s time to fertilize. It’s best to use natural compost. Simply spread a 1-inch-deep (2.5 cm) layer of compost over the soil. Then, use your garden tools or rototiller to mix the compost into the soil. Mixing compost into the soil is essential, since sunlight can evaporate the nitrogen-rich urea in compost if it is left on the soil surface. Once your garden is tilled and composted, it’s time to start planting.
Plant Seeds in Rows
Begin planting radish seeds when the outdoor temperatures are 50–65℉ (10–18℃) and there is no danger of frost. For spring radishes in the American South and West, the best time to plant may be as early as January or February. In the Northeast and Midwest, the right planting time may not arrive until April or May. For fall plantings, plan to sow your seeds in October or November in warm regions and August or September in cooler climates.
- Plant radishes once temperatures rise above 50℉ (10℃) in spring and the danger of frost is past.
- For fall plantings, wait until temperatures drop to 65℉ (18℃) before planting.
- Plant radish seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart in rows spaced 8–12 inches (20–30 cm) apart.
- Cover radish seeds with ½-inch (1 cm) of soil after planting.
- Water the soil immediately after planting.
Plant your radishes seeds in rows spaced 8–12 inches apart (20–30 cm). Plant one seed every 1 inch (2.5 cm) along each row. To make planting easy, use a trowel to make a small line in the soil. Sprinkle seeds along this line. Then, cover the radish seeds with ½-inch (1 cm) of soil. Water to moisten the soil as soon as you are done planting.
Thin Your Radish Sprouts
Once your radish seedlings produce their first true leaves, it’s time to thin them. The first leaves a radish sprout has will be two oval-shaped leaves. These are not true leaves. Wait until new leaves begin growing from the center of the plant, then begin thinning. Remove extra sprouts until you have one radish plant every 3 inches (7.5 cm) along each row.
- Wait until your radish leaves have grown their first true leaves before you begin thinning.
- Thin out each row of radishes until there is one plant every 3 inches (7.5 cm).
- Thinning excess plants ensures each radish grows a healthy root bulb.
Planting excess radish seeds and thinning the sprouts ensures you have enough radishes to fill every row. Not every radish seed you plant will sprout, so you will plant about 3 times as many seeds as you need. Thin out the weaker seedlings so that the remaining radishes have space to develop delicious roots.
Radishes have specific watering needs. It’s essential to keep the soil where radishes are growing slightly moist without allowing it to become soggy or dry. To maintain the perfect environment for your radish seedlings and mature plants, follow our complete radish watering guide. We recommend once-weekly waterings that provide 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
- Radishes grow best in soil that is kept slightly moist, without allowing it to become very wet or overly dry.
- Monitor the soil closely immediately after planting to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
- Continue to water once weekly from planting until radish harvest.
Just after planting your radish seedlings, it’s a good idea to monitor the soil conditions closely. Consistently moist soil will encourage more seedlings to sprout. Maintain this moist soil as you thin your radish seedlings and continue to cultivate the plants to adulthood.
Weed and Watch for Pests
Check your radish rows daily and pull out any weed sprouts by hand. By killing weeds before they get a foothold, you prevent them from stealing nutrients from your radishes. Weeding early also prevents weed roots from tangling with your radish roots, which can make weeding difficult.
- Weed radish rows daily to prevent weeds from stealing nutrients from your radishes.
- Check radishes for insects that are devouring the leaves.
- You can kill pest insects on radishes organically by spraying them with this natural neem oil.
In addition to weeds, keep an eye out for these common radish problems, which include flea beetles, root maggots, and scab. By knowing the signs of pests and diseases, you’ll be able to act fast and save your radish crop.
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Your radishes will be ready for you to harvest in 3–5 weeks after planting. To harvest, use a fork or garden trowel to gently dig under the radish root and lever it upward. Loose soil is essential for easy radish harvests. Once the radish is uprooted, wash it thoroughly before using it in cooking. You’re ready to enjoy your radishes!
- Begin harvesting radishes 3 weeks after planting.
- Continue harvesting as needed until your radishes are 5 weeks old.
- Radishes older than 5 weeks are not edible, so make sure to harvest all your radishes by the 5-week mark.
- Clean radishes thoroughly before cooking and eating.
Harvest your first radish after 3 weeks. Then, continue to harvest as needed up until the radishes are 5 weeks old. At 5 weeks old, your radishes will reach their largest edible size. After this point, the radishes will begin to grow tough, fibrous, and inedible. If you have too many radishes to enjoy at once, you can store harvested radishes in your refrigerator for up to one week.
What is the Best Way to Grow Radishes?
In order to grow healthy radishes in just a few weeks, follow these steps:
- Choose a planting location that receives full sun.
- Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) and mix compost into the soil.
- Plant radish seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart in rows spaced 8–12 inches apart (20–30 cm).
- Once radish seedlings produce their first true leaves, thin them to one plant every 3 inches (7.5 cm) along each row.
- Water radishes weekly to keep the soil moist without allowing it to become soggy.
- Uproot weeds growing among your radishes daily and check for insect pests.
- Harvest your radishes when they are 3–5 weeks old.
By planting your radishes in cool weather, you will have an abundance of delicious radishes with a crisp, mild flavor. If temperatures remain cool, you can even plant new radish seeds as you harvest, to have an ongoing radish crop.