Radish can really perk up a salad, and it’s speed of growth makes it great to grow with children too. This guest post has lots of tips to help you get a bumper harvest.
Radish is very easy to grow, and doesn’t need any complicated care measures. It handles low temperatures well and the vegetation period is short, so it is perfect for cultivation in early spring, although you may also sow it at the end of summer for the autumn harvest.
You need to loosen and weed the soil thoroughly to prepare it for sowing radishes. The soil needs to be fertile, rich in humus, with slightly acidic or neutral reaction and low nitrogen content. Radishes like soils fertilised with manure (they grows best in the second year after using this natural fertiliser) and compost. You could also enrich the soil with a dab of mineral fertiliser just before sowing. You should have crop rotation in mind when choosing the site for radishes, as they can produce smaller crops when planted on the site where other Brassicaceae vegetables have grown before. Ideally the site for radishes also needs to be sunny, as this vegetable will yield small, low-quality crops in shady locations.
You can sow radish seeds as early as March. A temperature of 12ᵒC is ideal for germination, although even 3 – 4ᵒC would be sufficient for the emergence to occur. In such cases it’s a good idea to cover the sowing site with cloches or another form of protection, in order to speed up plant growth.
Seeds should be sown in rows 15cm apart. In order for the radishes to produce large roots, leave 2-4cm between the plants in their rows. Place the seeds approximately 1 cm deep; if you cover them with a thicker layer of soil, the roots will deform and grow in length.
If your seedlings are closer than 2-4cm apart in their rows, thin them out to encourage bigger roots. Borders with radishes need to be weeded regularly, and the soil between rows needs to be loosened. This vegetable does not need any other special care measures. Planted early in spring it should have plenty of water in the ground, hence it does not even require watering, unless the weather is extremely dry. For an autumn harvest, regular watering is essential, as dry soil causes the roots to become pithy.
Radishes do not need fertilising during the growing period if you prepare the soil properly. Should you decide to supplement it, foliar fertilisation is recommended. Don’t over-feed them though, because radishes have a short vegetation period and the harmful nitrates could accumulate in the roots. Radishes can be harvested as early as 3–4 weeks after sowing.
Do you have any tips for growing radishes, or favourite varieties that you would recommend?
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