Radishes have had a long relationship with man. Southern Asia is believed to be the country of origin since truly wild forms have been found there. Middle Asia and India appear to be secondary centers where many different forms developed subsequently. Third-century B.C. Greeks wrote of their radishes, and by 100 A.D., Roman writers described small and large types, mild and biting varieties, and round and long forms. A German botanist in 1544 reported radishes of 100 pounds. Radishes appear to be one of the first European crops introduced into the Americas, closely behind the arrival of Columbus. The white daikon (“big root” in Japanese) is common in Japan, and gardeners in increasing numbers are growing it here. The daikon has a milder, sweeter flavor than ordinary radishes.
Radishes and radish sprouts are a very common ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine, where they are eaten raw, simmered in soup, and used in sushi. They are rich in many vitamins and minerals.
Optimum Soil Ph: 5.5 to 6.8
Days To Maturity: 45
Sowing Method: Outdoors
When preparing the soil, avoid fresh manure and organic materials or fertilizers high in nitrogen. An overly rich soil will encourage lush foliage at the expense of crisp, tasty roots. When the radish seedlings are about two inches tall, thin the plants to three-inch spacings. If not thinned, you’re likely to end up with shriveled, inedible roots. Mulch the radishes with compost enriched with wood ashes. This not only keeps root maggots at bay, but also helps the soil retain moisture that could mean the difference between perfect and pitiful radishes. Water in moderation. If the soil is too dry, radishes will bolt and become pithy and too pungent to eat. If too wet, the roots will split and rot. Never let the soil dry out, but don’t keep it mucky, either. Radishes are superb companion plants, particularly when used to draw aphids, flea beetles, and other pests away from peppers, squash, cukes, and other vegetables.