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Posts Tagged ‘Kazuko Hoshida’

In SoCal fall you have the luxury of planting larger winter storage types as well as the small spring/summer salad types. In summer they are a super companion plant! Radishes are one of the most fun plants because they come in a great variety of shapes lengths, colors, and sizes, and tastes!

Have you ever tried this Daikon relative, an heirloom called Chinese Red Meat, Beauty Heart, and Rose Heart? This is one of the most mild radishes with just a slight peppery bite, along with some sweetness and a lot of crunch!  …says Catie Baumer Schwalb. Look at this beauty – also called Watermelon Radish!

Radish Watermelon Chinese Red Meat

Spring – Summer Varieties:  Small and fast-growing – usually ready for harvest in 3 to 4 weeks. Select varieties based on size and shape (globe or cylindrical), color (including red, purple, white and combinations) and bolt-resistance. Summer: take slightly longer to mature — usually in about 6 to 8 weeks. When it gets 65° or higher, stop sowing because radishes don’t tolerate heat well and will rapidly go to seed. Take up planting again in late summer; plant winter varieties as well as spring varieties. Longer varieties, like French Breakfast, take a little longer to grow. The longer varieties, and winter varieties tolerate heat better than the short, round ones.

  • Cherry Belle is the supermarket bright red-skinned round variety with a white interior.
  • French Breakfast is an elongated red-skinned radish with a white splash at the root end. It is typically slightly milder than other summer varieties, but is among the quickest to turn pithy.
  • Easter Egg is not an actual variety, but a mix of varieties with different skin colors – white, pink, red, purple! They mature at different times!
Long variety, Black Spanish radishes, Raphanus sativus var. niger

Long variety, Black Spanish radishes, Raphanus sativus var. niger

Fall-Winter Varieties: Grow more slowly (usually 2 months or more to maturity), produce larger roots (usually cylindrical – like carrots), and hold their quality much longer than common varieties. They are also known as Oriental, Daikon, Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish radishes. Most are biennials that do not bolt as readily in response to long days, and only develop seedstalks after exposure to cold temperatures. The April Cross is a giant white radish hybrid that bolts very slowly.  They are usually planted in summer for fall harvest – our SoCal fall, Sep, is fine!

Larger winter varieties need more space than spring varieties, so thin, or make your seed strip to about 6-inch spacings, depending on variety. Since they have a longer growing time, rain or watering, plus their natural growing, may uncover their shoulders. Check now and then to see how they are doing – cover the shoulders so they don’t become dry and tough.

To make you completely crazy and terrifically happy, here is the Cornell list of 136 varieties! Note the star ratings! Remember, Cornell is in NY, but hey, a radish is a radish, right?!

Superlative companions! Wise gardeners know there’s no need to devote whole sections of the garden to radishes. Interplant an understory! Pop small varieties in as fillers among, along, under, on the sunny side of larger plants, or in the same row with carrots, parsley, parsnips and other slower germinating and growing crops. They become a living mulch, shading your soil and keeping it more evenly moist. The radishes help to break soil crust for the weaker and later-germinating crops. In fact, in no-till farming they are used to help reverse compaction! Think radishes now, broccoli later!

Radish religion, summer plant companions! For this purpose, ignore the 65° warning above; bolting is fine. Plant radish with cukes and squashes to repel cucumber beetles, and with cukes, squashes and eggplant to trap flea beetles! No need to allocate separate space for radishes. Plant them where they will do the most good! Plant enough of them so you can harvest to your happiness for your table (don’t delay) and let the rest grow out to protect your other plants. They make pretty flowers for the pollinators and you can harvest seeds for next year’s plantings. Seeds remain viable up to 4 years!

They are sun lovers! A shaded radish will have a small root with large leaves.

Direct-sow radish seeds where they are to grow. They don’t transplant well, and, well, heck, they grow so fast, why move them?! And ’cause they grow so fast, be sure to plant every week or two for a steady supply. Research shows the depth you plant your seeds affects the size of the root! Plant small radishes just under a 1/2″ deep, larger guys 1.6″ deep. Did I really say 1.6?! Yes, but guesstimate your best! 🙂

Their favorite soil is well-drained, loose, easy to grow in, high in organic matter, free of stones, with pH 5.8 to 6.8. Unless your soil is poor, lay back on fertilizer or you will have lush tops and small roots. Radish seed strips are wonderful! But if you sow by hand, when the little guys are up about 2″, thin to three-inch spacings. If not thinned, you’re likely to end up with undeveloped or shriveled, inedible roots. No fun at all. They can tolerate a bit of frost.

They need plentiful, consistent moisture. Summer mulching helps, though they quickly self mulch as their leaves fill out. Mulching with compost enriched with wood ash repels root maggots. If the soil is too dry, radishes bolt, are woody, and too pungent to eat. If too wet, they split and rot.

Traditional Miura Japanese Daikon Radish

Farmer Kazuko Hoshida with the traditional Miura Japanese Daikon. Huge, hard to harvest, have now been replaced by the smaller Aokubi Daikon.

Plant only what you can eat. If you leave them in the ground they do get bigger, but they also get dry, very HOT, and woody. Harvest when they are mature whether you need them immediately or not, and cut off the leaves. Put them in plastic storage bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator; eat within 1 to 2 weeks.

Radishes are another kind of Brassica! They are in the same family as your brocs, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and turnips, and the other hotties, mustard, horseradish and wasabi! Like most Brassicas, the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. Young thinnings are great in summer salads. Radish also can be eaten as a very tasty wake-up-your-sandwich sprout!

Saved radish seeds are edible too! They are sometimes used as a crunchy, spicy addition to salads. Some varieties are grown specifically for their seeds or seed pods, rather than their roots, like the Rat-tailed radish, an old European variety thought to have come from East Asia centuries ago.

The Burpee Seed site says: Radishes are more versatile in the kitchen than many gardeners realize. Besides adding crisp radishes to salads, try them sliced into stir-fries, stews, and soups. Marinate sliced radishes in vinegar, honey, and soy sauce to serve in a number of Chinese dishes. Sauté them in butter for a minute, and then serve with salt, pepper, and herbs (especially chervil) for a different and unusual side dish. Long radishes are particularly good for sautéing. Slice them diagonally to obtain larger pieces and cook quickly to retain crispiness. Grate radishes into your favorite slaws, or dice them for egg and potato salads. Winter radishes can even be pickled [lacto fermented]!

You must see Kari’s Kitchen amazing Black Radish Chips recipe!

 Kari's Kitchen's amazing Black Radish Chips

THE plant for kids’ gardens. Radishes can sprout in 3 days, and practically grow right in front of your eyes! 3 to 6 weeks and they are on the table!

Updated 3.1.18


The Green Bean Connection started as correspondence for the Santa Barbara CA USA Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden. All three of Santa Barbara’s community gardens are very coastal. During late spring/summer we are often in a fog belt/marine layer most years, locally referred to as the May grays, June glooms and August fogusts. Keep that in mind compared to the microclimate niche where your veggie garden is. Bless you for being such a wonderful Earth Steward!

Love your Mother! Plant bird & bee food! Think grey water! Grow organic!

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