Radish, an all-season favorite

Four radish harvest on a cement block

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 – around 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

This early sowing takes place in February directly where they are to grow but it is necessary to provide for a cold frame or a tunnel greenhouse until frost spells are over.

  • The first radishes are called “forced” because they are ready earlier than they would have been naturally.
  • Broadcast sowing is the sowing technique used for these small seeds.
  • Harvesting takes place faster.

Sowing radishes every month

From May onwards, you may sow as you wish until the end of the summer, even until the beginning of fall, weather permitting.

  • Sow the seeds directly where they are to grow.
  • Sow in rows with a 4 to 8 inch (10 to 20 cm) spacing between rows.

Sowing summer and fall radish

Sowing takes place during the whole summer and the radish may be sown directly where they are to grow, without needing any shelter.

  • Sow the seeds directly where they are to grow.
  • Sow in rows with a 4 to 8 inch (10 to 20 cm) spacing between rows.

Winter sowing

These radishes are sown from June to November depending on the climate.

  • Sow the seeds directly where they are to grow.
  • 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 your spring soil tends to be soggy, implement a few tricks to avoid damping off once seedlings sprout.
  • In order to seed the entire bed in a matter of seconds, go for broadcast sowing.
  • Cover with a thin layer of soil mix (around 3/8ths of an inch, or 1 cm)
  • Lightly compact the soil

Once the 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 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. This will give you nice radishes to nibble straight from your terrace or balcony!

Caring for radish

Radish 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.

Harvesting radish

Harvesting radishes is easy and usually takes place 4 to 6 weeks after having been sown. It is thus pretty early, and best is to harvest them at the right moment to savor the best taste.

The only risk that radishes incur is that they become hollow, which makes them less appetizing and 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!

Crop rotating with radish

Species and varieties of pink radish

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

Radish varieties that may be forced are

  • 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.

And radishes good for sowing every month

  • Round 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.

Sowing every 2 to 3 weeks guarantees always having ready-to-eat radishes at hand.