Radish

Red radishes ready for harvest

Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are one of the quickest and easiest vegetables to grow. Ideal for summer salad dishes. The standard, round red radish is one of the most popular, yet there several more interesting varieties available, in a range of colours, shapes and sizes.

How to Cook >> Popular Varieties

Growing Conditions

Soil Type: Light, well-drained, rich fertile soil.

Conditions: Full sun.

Ease of Cultivation: Easy

Type: Salad/Root Vegetable.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.

When to Sow: March to September.

Harvest Season: Summer radishes: late spring onwards. Winter radishes: autumn.

Planting and Growing Radishes

Quick and easy to grow. Radishes make an excellent crop for containers, window boxes or vegetable borders.

Due to its vigorous growth, the radish is an ideal inter-crop vegetable. Sow thinly between rows of slower developing crops and harvest in about 4 weeks, before the main crop has developed.

The winter varieties, Japanese types or mooli radishes, grow much larger than the summer types, with roots up to 30cm (12 inches) long. They take longer to mature and the leaves can also be eaten like cabbage.

Preparation

They grow best in a light, well cultivated soil. Choose a sunny site for summer radishes and a sheltered site for winter radishes. Dig the soil over and break down to a very fine tilth. Rake-in a general purpose fertiliser a few weeks before sowing.

When to Sow

Summer varieties: Sow from March to late September in open ground.

Earlier sowings (around February) can be made but these will require protection by cloches. Remove the the cloches on mild days as soon as the seedlings appear.

Winter varieties: Sow from July onwards.

Japanese varieties: Sow from June to July.

Sow thinly ½in (1cm) deep, in rows 6in (15cm) apart.

Best sown in short rows, at fortnightly intervals, to ensure a regular supply. Don't sow too thickly and thin-out as soon as the true leaves appear. Crowded plants can quickly run to seed.

Taking Care of Radishes

Keep weed-free. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist until the crop has been harvested.

Once mature, radishes can very quickly go woody and bolt to seed, so keep an constant eye on them and pick as soon as they are ready. However, don't worry if they go over, as the seed is cheap and another crop can quickly be grown.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack from slugs and flea beetles.

Although related to brassicas, radishes are not normally affected by club-root, as they develop too quickly.

Harvesting Radishes

Harvest summer radishes as soon as they are large enough for use. Around 4 to 6 weeks after sowing.

Cooking Radishes

Top and tail and wash thoroughly. Slice large radishes or eat small round ones whole. Eat raw as a salad vegetable or coarsely grate into a stir fry. Larger winter types can be scrubbed or peeled if the skin is tough or blemished and boiled for 7 to 10 minutes until tender.

Nutritional Value

Radishes contain trace amounts of folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin K, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.

Popular Varieties of Radishes

Both summer and winter varieties are available.

Summer varieties:

Radish 'Cherry Belle' is a fast maturing, bright red radish, with sweet mildly flavoured white flesh. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Cherry Jolly' is a small red skinned, quick growing variety with a mild flavour. Height 6in (15cm), spread 4in (10cm). Available from Van Meuwen.

Radish 'Diana' is a quick maturing summer radish with purple rounded roots that fade to white at the root tips. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish French Breakfast is a popular summer variety that is white at the tip and red at the crown. Crisp, crunchy, mild and sweet, a perfect addition to salads. Available from Van Meuwen.

Radish 'Bluemoon' (F1 Hybrid) is a unique blue skinned variety with cylindrical roots. Height to 6in (15cm), spread to 4in (10cm). Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Felicia' is a purple skinned variety with a great peppery taste and a crisp texture. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Mars' (F1 Hybrid) produces uniform bright red roots with a crisp, juicy texture and good visual appeal. Easy to grow outdoors and can be sown early under glass. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Poloneza' is a fast maturing radish that produces good quality round, red-skinned roots with a white tip. Mild, crisp, white or pink tinged flesh. Ideal for early sowings. Height to 6in (15cm), spread to 4in (10cm). Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Redmoon' (F1 Hybrid) is a conical form with attractive red skin and rose-pink flesh. Height to 6in (15cm), spread to 4in (10cm). Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Radish 'Scarlet Globe' is a small round bright red variety with a mild peppery flavour. Height 6in (15cm), spread 4in (10cm). Available from Van Meuwen.

Radish 'Vienna' (F1 Hybrid) is a large sized red-skinned summer radish with firm white flesh. Ideal for successional sowing. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Winter varieties:

Radish Black Spanish Round & Black Spanish Long are globe and tapered forms with black skin and white flesh. Although considered a winter radish they can be sown in both spring and autumn.

Radish China Rose is a traditional winter variety with deep pink-red skin and long chunky roots. can be harvested in autumn and stored in dry sand.

Japanese Mooli Varieties

Mooli Radish 'Dragon' (F1 Hybrid) is a fast maturing, good all around variety with smooth, pinky-red skinned roots. Fully winter hardy. Height and spread to 6in (15cm). Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Mooli Radish 'Neptune' (F1 Hybrid) has pure white, crisp flesh and a mild flavour. Root length to 10in (25cm). A popular autumn/winter radish. Good bolt resistance and winter hardiness. Available at Thompson and Morgan.

Plant Groups