Winter and Spring Radishes

Though I haven’t posted much lately, we have been keeping busy.

Here are some pictures of this year’s radish seed production.


Winter radishes are big generally spicy radishes that are grown in the fall for winter storage.

This purple radish is a F1 cross of a Red Meat radish (also called watermelon radish) with a black Nero Tondo radish. It was seeded around August 1 2010, harvested in the fall, and stored in the cold room through the winter.

This spring I sorted the stored radishes and composted any that hadn’t stored well.

On May 4th, I replanted the radishes in one row on 18″ spacing. First I laid them out then I buried them. (The orange roots in the picture beyond the purple radishes are golden beets.)

I left the leaves above ground to start photosynthesizing.

June 10th, the radishes had gone to flower. Currently they have set a number of seed pods.


Spring radishes are what most people think of as radishes – small and round or red and long with a little white tip. They’re usually ready in 28 days or so from seeding. They can be seeded throughout the growing season though spring seeded radishes tend to be the mildest.

These radishes were seeded at the end of March in our greenhouse.

I removed most of the leaves from each radish but left the leaves at the growing point intact. Andrea Berry from Hope seeds suggested I do this.

Last year I had just snapped the leaves off but found the radishes took awhile to start putting leaves out when I replanted them.  Andrea thinks leaving the middle leaves on the radish speeds up new leaf growth.

I bagged up the radishes and tossed them in the cold room for a bit. I labelled the bag with date they went in the cold room and the fact that they are for seed production (not for a delicious snack with a little mayo.)

I usually then leave them in the cold for 1-2 weeks to simulate overwintering.

This year the abundant rain delayed a lot of my seed planting. I only took the radishes out of the cold room on June 1st.

I then planted them in the field in two rows per bed. Last year I planted my spring radishes 18″ apart in the row  but I found that the plants weren’t very big. This year I reduced the inrow spacing to 12″.

I made sure not to bury the leaves.

Last week the radishes had definitely caught and were starting to bolt.

I think that Andrea’s leaf snapping advice did speed up new leaf growth. Will that offset the extra two weeks I left the roots in the cold room? We’ll just have to see.


With this post I’ll try to get back into a more regular blogging routine. I hope all your fields have recovered from one seems like heavy rains from coast to coast.

5 thoughts on “Winter and Spring Radishes

  1. I’m curious, do you have any issues with root maggots in your radishes and if so how do you combat that issue? Hope you have a good radish seed harvest.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Immediately after seeding radishes we cover them with row cover or protective netting to keep cabbage flies from laying eggs at the base of the plants. We still get some damage but much less than when we don’t cover radishes.


  2. Could I substitute the refrigerator or freezer as my cold room to place the radishes or turnips that I want to replant for about 1 week after harvesting? As I live in humid, tropical climate where we have no cold cellars & no winters. thank you and aloha

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