Radishes are a great way to start growing your own food. They are easy and fast to grow. I'm not normally one for spicy foods but I love radishes. They are a low calorie health snack that you can grab and eat in a hurry. Cooking them takes the hot flavor away. I should mention before we get started that I'm talking about regular radishes here, not the daikon radish.
Radish seeds are one of the first seeds to be planted in the garden. They are a cool weather crop. This means that you have to plant them when the temperatures are not too hot. Radishes should be planted as soon as there is no longer a chance of frost in your area.
Having the right soil conditions will make your radish seeds sprout and grow in a hurry. Since radishes are a root crop you want to have deep, rich, and rock free soil. If you try to grow a radish in a rocky garden you will get stunted or deformed radishes. Adding some compost to your radish garden will help you to get great radishes.
Sowing (Planting) Radish Seeds
Once you've got a good garden bed ready for planting you can sow (plant) your radish seeds. If you've got a packet of seeds that you picked up at the store just follow the depth instructions on it or be wild and just poke your finger into the soil a bit. My personal scientific measuring method is to make a hole to the base of my fingernail for radish seeds. Drop a radish into the hole you've made, cover it with soil, give it a little pat, and a drink of water. The pat isn't just to tell the radish that you love it but to ensure good seed/soil contact. You should water a little bit every day until the seed sprouts.
To Row or Not to Row
I haven't done row gardening in a long time. I prefer to use various intensive and successive gardening methods. Growing radishes in a row is a waste of space and seed (in my opinion) and few people will be able to eat a whole row of radishes at once. When you plant in a row you are supposed to scatter the seed along the row and then thin the seeds to 2 inches apart after germination. I've never understood planting and thinning. I generally lean towards the square foot method of spacing. In a one foot section of garden you plant 9 radish seeds â€“ 3 across and 3 down. I can eat 9 radishes in a day or 2. I plant a one foot section every 4 â€“ 7 days until radish sowing season is over. By the time I eat all those radishes I'm pretty much sick of radishes and don't want to see another for a year anyway.
Growing the Radish
Once you've planted your seeds you just watch the bare dirt for a few days. In 4 to 7 days you should have some cute little radish sprouts coming up. You then watch those baby leaves until they are replaced with mature leaves. Just continue to watch for 20 â€“ 30 days and you'll have radishes. Ok â€“ You might want to give your radish a little all purpose fertilizer when planted and then a little water every few days. Radishes are easy, didn't I mention that?
Harvesting a Radish
Grab and Pull
Saving Radish Seeds
Once radishes are past their prime eating stage you can just leave them alone for awhile longer. They'll make flowers which then become seed pods. You should leave the seed pods on the plant until they are brown and dried. Once they have become brown and dried pick the seed pods off and separate the seeds. Radishes have kind of tough pods so you're going to have to put a little effort into opening them. Remove the seeds and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready to plant them.
Sprouting Radish Seeds
Here we're going to make edible radish sprouts, which is different from the sprouts you get in the garden. This is going to be a quick guide because I'm assuming if you want to sprout radish seeds you've done some sprouting in your time. Your radish sprouts will taste just like a radish.
When you first start you want to rinse our radish seeds. Cheesecloth is good for this. It has a fine mesh and you won't lose our seeds. Put your seeds into some sort of container, one with holes works great, and commence rinsing. The purpose for the first rinse is to get rid of any debris that might have come with your seeds.
Soak the seeds for about 8 hours, drain, and put your seeds somewhere out of direct sun. You are going to be rinsing and draining these seeds every 8 or 12 hours for 4 â€“ 5 days. If you keep your house a bit colder than average it may take a few extra days for your first baby leaves to open.
Once all your seeds have sprouted you'll want to give a final rinse and soak. When you soak the seeds all the seed hulls will float to the top which you can skim off and compost or toss out in the yard. You should play with your sprouts a bit to get the hulls and sprouts separated. At this point you are going to have a tangle of roots and leaves so it can be a bit of work to get the hulls loosened and removed.
Let your sprouts dry and they can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks or eaten right away.
That's pretty much all there is to sowing, growing, harvesting, and sprouting radish seeds.