By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you know one of the most undervalued crops? The radish – especially, since it comes in many different forms.
Radishes are my favorite type of chip. I enjoy slicing them thinly and dipping them in sauces most would dip potato chips in.
I also enjoy incorporating them into my pot roast recipes in the place of potatoes. If you’re interested in growing more radishes, start with the daikon radish.
I’ll walk you through everything you should know to grow this crop. Here’s how you can grow daikon radishes in your garden:
What You’ll Learn:
- The versatility of radishes, including daikon radishes, as a snack, recipe ingredient, and cover crop.
- The ideal growing conditions for daikon radishes, such as temperature range and sunlight preferences.
- Direct planting techniques for daikon radishes, including depth, spacing, and watering requirements.
- Essential care practices for daikon radishes, including soil amendment, deep watering, and mulching.
- Common pests and diseases that may affect daikon radishes, along with preventive measures and treatments.
- Harvesting methods for daikon radishes, storage tips, and their use as a cover crop.
Growing Conditions for the Daikon Radish
The daikon radish is a sweet option that has a milder flavor. If you don’t love traditional, spicier radishes, this could be a variety to explore.
Daikon radishes look different in comparison to most traditional varieties. Instead of being round and red, this style of radish is white and elongated.
It’s still a cool weather crop and has the same crispy texture as most other radishes, but you must admit it looks a little like a big root.
If you made this connection, this is how the plant was named. In Japanese, daikon radish is translated as big root.This plant also goes by the name of Chinese turnip.
Now that you know a little more about this crop, let’s discuss what it needs in a growing location. Since this is a cold-weather crop, it’s best to plant it in early spring for a late spring harvest, late summer for a fall harvest, or in some planting zones you may grow them over winter.
Daikon radishes are frost tolerant and are typically grown as annuals in planting zones two through elven. They prefer to grow in temperatures between 50- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet, the window for this crop is vast. If the temperatures remain below 80-degrees Fahrenheit but warm enough to where the ground isn’t frozen, daikon radishes should grow.
Select a growing location with full to partial sunlight. You should also plant in soil that’s rich in nutrients and well-draining.
Now that you understand what this vegetable needs in a growing location, let’s dive deeper into incorporating it into your garden.
How to Plant Daikon Radishes
The daikon radish is a root vegetable. Therefore, it doesn’t like being disturbed once sown. For this reason, it’s recommended to sow the seeds directly into the soil.
Till the ground and prepare it for seed. When ready, sow the seeds at a depth between ¼ and ½ inch deep. Then lightly cover the seeds. They should be one-inch apart at this point.
Ensure there’s a foot of space between each row. Keep the soil evenly damp until the seeds germinate. They should germinate in a week or less.
Once they’ve sprouted, thin the plants to where there’s a half foot of space between each. Continue to provide care to the plants as they produce in this growing space.
These are the few basics you should understand about incorporating this crop into your garden. Daikon radishes are simple to plant, so if you’re interested in trying a new crop this could be a good option.
Caring for Daikon Radishes
Now that your daikon radishes are growing in an ideal location, let’s discuss how to care for them. The first thing to be aware of is how you fertilize this crop.
In most cases, it’s best to amend the soil prior to planting. Then the radishes can pull the necessary nutrients from their environment.
Should your radishes appear to need a boost of nutrients, don’t use a fertilizer high in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen leads to leafy greens but small roots.
You should also water your crop deeply. This encourages a deeper and stronger root system. Apply more water in a single watering session, fewer days of the week.
This encourages the roots to dig deep for water instead of remaining shallow at the surface. Test the soil prior to watering again.
Ensure the soil is dry to your second knuckle before having another deep watering session. You should apply between a ½ inch and inch of water per week.
Finally, mulch around your radishes. This helps keep weeds down around the plants which can prevent issues with pests and diseases.
Plus, mulch is great for retaining moisture. Daikon radishes are a low-maintenance plant. Keep these tips in the forefront of your mind while growing this crop around your home or garden.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Can Impact Daikon Radishes
Almost every plant has a foe in the garden. The daikon radish isn’t exempt to this situation. The biggest threats from pests this plant faces are from harlequin bugs, cabbage maggots, and flea beetles.
You may treat each of these threats with an insecticide. Another problem these crops face is from diseases.
The most common diseases to threaten the daikon radish are root rot and leaf spot. Should you encounter leaf spot, increase airflow around the plant, ensure the soil is draining adequately, and make sure your plant is receiving enough sunlight.
You should also ensure that soil isn’t splashing back on the foliage of the plant at the time of watering. Mulch can assist with this.
Consider removing the damaged portions of the plant. Be sure to destroy them instead of composting to avoid spreading this disease further.
Root rot is our next disease to discuss. This disease is avoided by growing your radishes in an area with adequate drainage.
By avoiding growing a crop in an oversaturated situation, rot shouldn’t form. If you notice your radishes are rotting, it’s best to discard them and plant in a different area with better draining soil.
These are the few hardships daikon radishes may face around the garden. Take these pointers into consideration to ensure you know how to handle these common problems.
How to Harvest Daikon Radishes
Daikon radishes are grown for a variety of reasons. One is to enjoy, but the other reason is for use as a cover crop.
If you use the daikon radish as a cover crop, it may help loosen your soil and help deter erosion. If you’d like to do more than till the crop into the soil for composting, take note of these tips.
Should you wish to harvest daikon radishes, begin by loosening the soil around the plant. Once loosened, you should be able to gently pull the root out of the ground.
It may take up to three months before your radishes are ready. Begin by pulling a few and once you see they’re all of a good size, continue harvesting.
You may choose to leave your radishes in the ground for storage. As long as the ground doesn’t freeze, they should be fine. Then you can harvest as you need them.
Otherwise, pull the roots from the ground and store them in a damp paper towel inside the fridge. You can remove the tops and store them separately in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
Be sure to use your harvest quickly. Greens only last for a few days where the roots may last for approximately a week.
These are the things you should know when harvesting daikon radishes you grow fresh in your garden. Store them properly, and you should have a fresh root crop on hand multiple times of the year.
Enjoy these radishes as they add a charming touch to a variety of culinary dishes. They also make a wonderful snack.
Not to mention, they’re of wonderful use as a cover crop. If you need a low-maintenance and highly functional crop, the daikon radish could be what you need.
Storing and Using Daikon Radish Quick Reference Chart
|Storage||– Store radishes in a plastic bag in refrigerator 10-14 days|
– Store greens unwashed in plastic bag with a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer for less than 7 days
|Cleaning and Preparation||– Do not require peeling, but scrub with vegetable brush|
|Cooking Options||– Can be eaten raw (salads, slaw) or cooked.|
– Larger sized radishes better for cooking, becoming sweet and tender.
– Commonly used for stir-fry, kimchi, fries and pickling.
|Nutritional Value||– Daikon radishes are a source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.|
- Radishes, especially daikon radishes, are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways.
- Daikon radishes thrive in cool weather with full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil.
- Sow daikon radish seeds directly in the soil, ensuring proper depth, spacing, and moisture.
- Care for daikon radishes through soil amendment, deep watering, and mulching.
- Be aware of common pests and diseases, and take necessary preventive measures.
- Harvest daikon radishes when mature, store them appropriately, and consider using them as a cover crop.