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How to Grow Spring Radishes

Radishes are one of the most rewarding crops to grow; they mature quickly, have few problems, and produce an abundant crop in a relatively small space that can be used for another crop. You can even grow them in a pot. Radish are a great vegetable to plant with young child because they will see the results of their labor quickly. Most people eat the root but the leaves are edible too and considered tasty.

Here are some guidelines for growing radishes.

1. Selection:
Pick a variety that appeals to you. Radishes may be round or long, red, white, black or purple. Different kinds of radishes are good for different purposes.

2. Planting Date:
Radishes are cold weather crops. That is they do well in spring and fall when the temperatures are cool but may become woody, pithy, and peppery when temperatures rise. They are frost hardy to begin planting about two weeks before the last frost date in spring and continue every 10 days until about three weeks after the last frost date. In late summer plant again at 10 day intervals beginning about eight weeks before you first frost date in the fall, ending about 3three weeks before the first frost date.

3. Soil Preparation:
Loosen up the soil and work in a light application of balanced fertilizer. Radish seeds may also be planted and grown among other crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peppers or eggplants because they will grow, mature, and be harvested before other plants have developed. You can even tuck radishes into perennial beds.

4. Planting:
Sow seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep and 1” apart. You can also broadcast radish seed and then thin to 1” apart when leaves have emerged.

5. Care:
Water frequently so that the soil does not dry out. Radishes need consistent moisture for best growth but do not like standing water. Cracking may occur if dryness is followed by abundant moisture.  Leaf miners may disfigure leaves but will probably not hurt the root.

6. Harvest:
Begin harvesting radishes when they are about the size of a marble. Once the radishes become pithy pull them up and discard them.

Although the root of the radish is the part most people eat, the leaves are tasty too. Eat them like spinach or any other green. And, yes, radishes are a great crop for containers; you only need four inches of soil for the round ones, six for long varieties.

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