Radish: from sowing to harvest, how to grow it


Radish is a root vegetable that is absolutely delicious. It is famous for both its taste and the ease with which it grow.

Key Radish facts

NameRaphanus sativus
Family – Brassicaceae
Type – annual

Height – 7 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) depending on variety
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary but light

Harvest – 4 to 6 weeks after sowing

From seed to harvest, here is everything you need to know to grow your radishes well. Early planting or forcing radishes gives a harvest in 3 to 4 weeks.

Sowing radish

Sowing radish can take place all year round, with a preference for the end of winter, in February, and summer from June to September

Radish are one of the easiest plants to sow. Spread the seeds directly where they are to grow, cover with a little dirt or soil mix, and water regularly to quickly harvest beautiful fresh radishes.

Sowing forced radish

  • sowing radishSowing in February under a cold frame or a tunnel greenhouse.
  • The first radishes are called “forced” because they are ready earlier than they would have been naturally.

Sowing radishes every month

  • From May until the end of the summer, even ’til early fall, weather permitting.
  • Sow the seeds directly where they are to grow, no need for cold frames.

Sowing summer and fall radish

  • Sowing during the whole summer
  • Sow directly in the plot, again without shelter.

Winter sowing

  • Sow directly in the ground from June to November depending on the climate.
  • Sow in rows with a 8 to 12 inch (20 to 30 cm) spacing between rows.

Techniques for sowing radish

The manner in which radish seeds are sown is the same throughout the year.

  • If in spring soil tends to be soggy, try a few tricks to avoid damping off.
  • Seed the entire bed in a matter of seconds with broadcast sowing.
  • If you prefer rows, sow with 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) between rows.
  • Cover with a thin layer of soil mix (around 3/8ths of an inch, or 1 cm)
  • Lightly compact the soil

Once seeds have sprouted, thin them out. This means to removing the weakest sprouts and only keeping the most vigorous ones, spaced every 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm).

  • Keep the ground clear of weeds by removing them as they appear.
  • Lightly break the surface crust regularly with a small hoe to let water trickle down to the roots.

Of course, it is also great to sow your radishes in a garden box, with soil mix and regular watering.

Caring for radish

Caring for radishRadish is very easy to care for. Once sown, the only care it needs is regular watering.

  • Water frequently in summer to ensure that the soil remains cool.
  • Lightly break the surface with a small hoe to let water trickle down.
  • Remove weeds as they appear.

Radish companion plants and crop rotation

Harvesting radish

Harvesting radish is easy and usually takes place 4 to 6 weeks after sowing.

It is thus a pretty quick crop, and best is to harvest them at the right moment to savor the best taste.

Radish harvestIf you delay, it splits inside and becomes hollow and fibrous (less appetizing and slightly more difficult to digest).

  • Once the first radishes are well-formed, it is best to harvest them regularly.
  • Do not let them get too big, it is better to harvest them too early than too late.
  • Once you’ve harvested the root, use the leaves to make a delicious radish leaf soup!

Species and varieties of pink radish

This list distinguishes between radishes that can be forced and those to sow month after month.

Radish varieties for forcing

  • Atten Dage (also called 18-day radish) – long-time favorite, outsold today by more modern varieties that are also early planting like ‘Fluo‘, ‘Bamba‘, ‘Kiva‘, ‘Sarda‘ or ‘Flamino‘ – their taste is not as sharp and spicy.
  • Gaudry‘ – a famous reference, round root, half scarlet red and half pearly white.

Varieties of radish for sowing every month

  • Radish varietiesRound Scarlet‘ – round root, delicious.
  • Orléans‘ – long roots, cylindrical, can be sown all year round.
  • Wurzburger‘ – sown in the summer, very good heat resistance.
  • Sézanne‘ – spherical bright pink roots with a white collar.
  • National‘ – round roots, bright red with a white tip, doesn’t hollow out as it grows big.
  • Cerise‘ – deep roots, bright red, doesn’t hollow out as it grows big.
  • Easter Pink‘ – soft and tasty roots.
  • Fakir‘ – round, firm flesh, delicate taste.
  • French Breakfast‘ – medium length, grows anywhere, perfect for beginners!
  • 5 weeks‘ – long pointed roots, to sow from April to September.

Other species and types of radish

Radish is a rather all-encompassing term. Spring radish, typically called pink radish, is a group of radish that likely derives from a wild ancestor called Raphanus landra. Black or winter radish is more likely to have been domesticated from another: Raphanus maritimus.

Apart from these, other plants also go by the name radish: horseradish, daikon radish…

Smart tip about radish

To have crunchy radishes all season long, it’s a good idea to sow new seeds every once and a while.

Sow every 2 to 3 weeks to guarantee that you always have ready-to-eat radish at hand.

Images: own work: Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois; Pixabay: Alina Kuptsova, Kati, Public Domain Pictures, Michaela Wenzler