Fall for Radishes

Spice up your autumn by planting a root vegetable that excels in the cooler months.

| Fall 2019

Photo by Adobe Stock/mythja

Juicy, spicy radishes are a quintessential spring crop, and a perfect addition to crisp, fresh salads of choice baby greens straight from soil. Most radishes don’t tolerate heat and require soil temperatures cooler than 75 degrees Fahrenheit for good germination rates. For this reason, radishes take a growing hiatus during the summer. Despite these restrictions, an additional radish crop can be grown during the cooler months of autumn. What a wonderful way to finish your growing season! Try these tips for a bountiful fall radish crop.


Radishes (Raphanus sativus) have a long history of cultivation. They’re documented as food crops in Egypt as early as 2000 B.C., and they were grown in China by 500 B.C. Radishes arrived in Europe in the mid-16th century, possibly via the Mediterranean. Centuries of breeding have given us a surfeit of choices when it comes to flavor, size, color, and shape. Nowadays, you’ll find beautiful red, pink, white, green, yellow, and black radishes, in perfectly round or long cylindrical shapes.

Quick, Yet Bountiful

For fall radishes, select a cultivar that grows quickly. Check the number of days until maturity on the seed package. As fall radishes are usually sown 4 to 10 weeks before the first frost, whatever cultivar you choose will need to grow to a harvestable size in that time. (The first frost has the potential to be a surprise, of course, but for a “best guess,” check your region’s frost-free period and work within that range.) As a guideline, plant seeds from August to early September in most areas. Direct sowing is preferable for radishes, as they don’t transplant well.

When you sow your radishes in fall, your vegetable garden might already be prepared for the coming growing season. If that’s the case, seed radishes wherever you have room; there’s no need for straight rows. If possible, plant the seeds in blocks to give them the best chance to succeed. Remember not to crowd radish plants too closely together. While they’re diminutive plants, good root development relies on proper spacing. For most cultivars, at least 2 inches is sufficient.

Photo by Adobe Stock/photopixel



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