Radish is a cool-season vegetable, which makes it able to survive even in an indoor environment. It is from the Brassicaceae family, which is the same group as cauliflower and broccoli. Radish is crisp and mildly spicy, especially if you harvest it at the right time. It has leaves that form a rosette. The plant can have an average height of 6 to 18 inches, depending on the variety. Spring radishes are smaller, which makes them a better option for indoor gardening compared to the larger winter radishes. Do not allow radishes to grow too large before harvest as the bitterness will be too much and it will be pungent.
Because you are growing radishes in containers, it is also important that you select the right variety to grow. It should not grow too large. Cherry Belle is one of the most popular choices, which is a compact table radish that typically requires up to 25 days to reach maturity. Sparkler, on the other hand, is a radish variety that will be ready for harvest as soon as its diameter reaches an inch. Other noteworthy varieties that you might want to consider include Ping Pong, Easter Egg, and French Breakfast, among others.
Planting and Growing Conditions
It is best to propagate radishes through seeds. Unlike other vegetables, it will only take a couple of days before the seeds will germinate. In some varieties, in as little as 20 days, your radish will already reach maturity. Purchase healthy seeds from a reputable seller to have an assurance that they will be disease-free.
After preparing your seeds, the next thing that you will need is the right container. The container should be wide and deep, which will allow it to accommodate the growth of the radish. It is better to use a new pot to be sure that it is clean. If you are recycling an old one, disinfect it first to prevent the transfer of pathogens and bacteria.
Now that the pot is ready, fill it with soil. A combination of compost and peat will also make a good addition to your potting mix. It will provide the nutrients that will be necessary for the growth of the radish. Mixing a vegetable fertilizer will also help to enrich the quality of the soil.
Sow seeds at a depth of about ¼ inch. The seeds are small, so you need to be patient in pushing it on the soil. Be sure to not just scatter them on the top. Leave at least two inches of space in between the seeds to avoid overcrowding. The space in between the seeds may also vary depending on the specific variety that you are planting.
To speed up germination and make sure that the radish will grow healthy, choose the right position within the household. There should be light shade but it must receive full, indirect sunlight. Six to eight hours of sunlight will be necessary for its root production. For the temperature, on the other hand, keep it away from a place that is too hot.
If you have not been eating radishes all your life, here are some of the health benefits that can convince you to make it a part of your diet:
- Improves Digestion: This is one of the reasons why radish is perfect for weight loss. As long as you consume it in moderation, this will help the body to digest food better. To add, because it is high in fiber, it also smoothens bowel movement.
- Prevents Heart Problems: If you want to have a stronger heart, you have a good reason to eat a radish. It has anthocyanin, which is basically the one that is responsible for improving the functioning of the heart and lessening the chances of having cardiovascular problems.
- Regulates Blood Pressure: Having a high blood pressure can be a precursor to numerous health problems. With radish, it supplies potassium to the body, which lowers your blood pressure.
- Improves Skin Health: Especially for people who are aging, radish is also good as it is instrumental in improving the appearance of the skin. It prevents dryness, pimple, acne, and other common skin problems.
- Treats Urinary Disorder: Radish is a diuretic, which means that it can significantly increase the production of urine. It is also a common ingredient for healthy juices that treat burning sensation when you urinate.
- Protects from Cancer: If you are afraid of having cancer, now is the time to start eating more radishes. It contains isothiocyanates, a group of compounds that can offer protective properties against the most common kinds of cancer.
- Provides Hydration: Especially during the hot summer months, eating radish is good because of its high water content. It provides the hydration that the body needs, which will make you more productive throughout the day.
Pests and Diseases
Most of the diseases in radishes are fungal in nature, which includes damping off, Septoria leaf spot, powdery mildew, white rust, fusarium wilt, and scab, among others. Aside from fungal diseases, pests can also cause an infestation in radishes, which will affect the appearance of the crop and the yield. Some of the pests that require your attention include leafhoppers, flea beetles, thrips, and radish maggot, among others.
Care and Maintenance
As a novice gardener, to avoid frustration, below are some helpful tips that you might want to keep in mind:
- Provide radish with adequate water, especially during the summer months. Poke the top of the soil. It if is too dry and hard, this is an indication that it is in need of watering. Nonetheless, avoid providing more water than necessary as this can lead to root rot and other similar problems.
- Learn the right timing of harvesting radishes. If you harvest it at a time that is too late, the flavor will be too bitter. More often than not, a part of the radish will show on the top of the soil, which means that it is ready for harvest. Do not be also afraid to dig a bit and feel the radish. If the diameter is about half an inch, you can already pull it out.
- If you notice that the leaves are showing a lack of vigor, such as dropping and having a pale color, this is a sign that the plant lacks light. Reposition the container in a place where it will enjoy better sunlight. Also, you might want to consider artificial light.
With its peppery-flavor, radishes will make a great choice for a vegetable to grow in a home garden, even indoors and in containers. Give the plant proper care and the right growing conditions, and for sure, it will not take long before you will be able to reap the rewards of your labor. Choose a variety that does not grow large and that reaches maturity within a short span of time.