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What Are Radishes?
Radishes (raphanus sativus) are a cool-season root vegetable and a member of the Brassicaceae family. Radish plants are biennials—its life cycle is two years long—but the root veggie can also be grown as an annual. The colorful root vegetable has two growing seasons: spring and winter. The most common varieties include round radishes, horseradish, and Daikon. Radishes are chock full of vitamin A, D, K, potassium, and magnesium.
Types of Radishes
Radishes are divided by their growing seasons: spring and winter. There are many different varieties of radishes within these groups:
- Spring radishes. Common spring varieties include Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, French Breakfast, and White Icicle.
- Winter radishes. Common winter varieties include Black Spanish, China Rose, and Daikon White.
When to Plant Radishes
Radishes are cold-hardy plants that can tolerate temperatures as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. However, different varieties of radishes have optimal growing seasons.
- Early spring. You can grow radishes in early spring for a mid-spring harvest. Use row covers at night if the temperature drops below the freezing point.
- Early fall. Radish plants can tolerate light frost, making it ideal for sowing in late summer and early fall. You can plant seeds up to two months before the first frost. Avoid growing radishes during the climax of summer—radishes cannot develop if the air temperature is too warm.
How to Plant Radishes
Once the weather allows, you can begin planting radish seeds in your home garden.
- Choose a site. Radish plants prefer full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade. Choose a planting area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day.
- Prepare the soil. Radishes prefer loamy, well-draining soil with an average to slightly acidic soil pH level (between 6.0 to 7.0). If you don’t know whether your soil is acidic or alkaline, you can perform a soil test using one of the methods featured in our soil test guide.
- Plant. Sow the radish seeds in loose soil at least one inch apart, in holes approximately one-inch deep. Drop seeds in the holes and cover with a half-inch of soil. Radishes grow within the soil, so you'll also want to leave at least one foot of space between rows.
- Transplant your radish plants. Though some gardeners may prefer to begin the germination process indoors to control the humidity and temperature of its surroundings, transplanting can be difficult with radish plants. The root ball is very sensitive and should not be disrupted. If you do choose to transplant, avoid disturbing the root ball. Uproot the seedlings using a scoop, leaving a few inches of soil around the bulb for protection. Transfer the plant into holes about two inches deep in your garden bed.