- Why You Should Be Cooking (Yes, Cooking) Daikon Radishes
- Tillage radish cover crop – tips to maximize its benefits
- No-till planted
- Radish Growing and Harvest Information
- What Is Daikon: Learn How To Grow Daikon Radish Plants
- What is Daikon?
- How to Grow Daikon Radish Crops
- Planting Daikon Radishes
- Growing Daikon Successfully
- Market Information
- Daikon Seed Sources
- More Information
- Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus
- What Is Daikon?
- Cultivation and History
- How to Sow
- How to Grow
- Growing Tips
- Cultivars to Select
- Managing Pests and Disease
- Recipes and Cooking Ideas
- Quick Reference Growing Guide
- Grow Some Giant Radishes
Why You Should Be Cooking (Yes, Cooking) Daikon Radishes
A couple weeks back, a friend served me pot au feu. I’m not telling you this just to brag that I have a pot au feu-making pal, but to share that when I went to pick out the chunks of what I thought were potatoes, he told me I didn’t have to. Knowing that I’m eating paleo right now (it’s a gut health thing), he’d made the stomach-soothing, bone-warming, long-simmered dish with daikon instead. I almost cried with gratitude. Then I took a bite and I did in fact tear up. It was that pleasurable, and I’ve been cooking all the daikon I can get my hands on since then.
Yes, cooking. Until then, I couldn’t have rightly told you that I’d ever had daikon in any other preparation than raw in salads and sushi, or pickled into sunny yellow danmuji or takuan. I happen to be a huge fan of radishes, so this presented no particular problem for me, but having this spicy, crisp brassica stand in as an ersatz tater opened up a whole vegetable Narnia for me. What else could this wonder root do?
Easy never tasted so awesome.
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I’m delighted to say: Plenty. But let’s back up for a second and talk about how to actually get one into your eager paws. Your best bet is an Asian market, and you’re looking for a long, white vegetable that may resemble a ghostly carrot or cucumber, and equal your forearm in size if it’s on the larger side. The leafy greens may or may not have been trimmed from the top, but there should be some evidence that they once existed. Haul your prize home, scrub the dickens out of it (daikons grow in soil like carrots), and get chopping. No need to peel.
If the leaves are present, they are indeed edible, and spicier than the rest of the vegetable and make marvelous kimchi and cooked greens, so don’t toss them out. (As a rule of thumb, don’t discard your greens—except for rhubarb’s, which are poisonous, but let’s talk about that later in the spring.)
Watch: How to Make Easy Kimchi
As for the body, think of it like a carrot. You can steam, blanch, braise, simmer, boil, or stir-fry a carrot, and the mighty daikon takes to these preparations just as well. If you’ve got your hands on a girthier one, it spiralizes beautifully—yup, daikon “noodles” and curly fries—and can be sliced into pretty divine baked chips. But best of all, you can roast it. Chop the daikon into rounds or cubes, coat them in oil and a sprinkle of salt (no need for pepper—they’re pretty volcanic as-is, but mellow out a little with heat), and roast in a 375°F oven, checking and flipping every 10 minutes until they’re slightly browned and softened, but haven’t totally lost their glorious crunch.
The roasted daikon is great as-is, but a dash of honey, your preferred vinegar, or a combo of the two pairs some sour and sweet with the heat, and your new favorite side is born. Pretty rad, huh?
A New Kind of Coleslaw. Enjoy shredded radish instead of cabbage in your next batch of homemade coleslaw. Try them in our Rainbow Slaw Salad recipe.
Roast ’em! Add a cubed daikon radishes to your next pot roast or pan of roasted vegetables.
Expand Your Garden. Get your kids interested in fruits and veggies by helping them grow something. Radishes grow easily and your kids may even be persuaded to eat them after harvest.
Slow Cooked. Place daikon radishes in a baking pan or slow cooker with carrots, onions, garlic, low-sodium seasonings, low-sodium vegetable broth, lean meat and all of your favorite vegetables. Turn on low and let the juices and flavors start mixing for an all-in-one meal! See Recipe
Add More Vitamin C! Mix one cup of fresh or frozen mango with ¼ cup carrot juice, sneak in ¼ cup of daikon radish, and add a handful of ice cubes. This adds vitamin C without changing the flavor!
As a Substitute. Use daikon radishes in any recipe that calls for radishes. Substitute them in our Apple-Beet Salad, Chicken Tortas, or our Herb Potato Salad recipes!
Baked, Boiled or Steamed. Use daikon radishes any way you would use a carrot, and then some. Try them baked or boiled in stews and soups or in a stir fry. Also try them lightly steamed with olive oil, salt or lemon juice for flavor.
Eat ’em Raw. Slice daikon radishes and eat raw with a dip or peanut butter or add shredded raw Daikon radishes to salads.
Radish … Cake? This traditional Japanese cake, also known as Daikon mochi, is made by combining shredded daikon radishes, rice flour, various shredded or chopped vegetables, and dried shrimp. To make a healthier version, create cakes and lightly sauté in olive oil until browned on each side.
Homemade Asian Take-Out. Combine sliced daikon radishes, brown rice, one egg, all of your other favorite vegetables, and a small amount of low-sodium soy sauce in a wok. Stir-fry then enjoy a simple Asian-flavored main dish.
See Nutrition Information for Daikon Radish
Fruit & Veggie Database
Key Nutrients in Fruits & Veggies
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Fruit & Vegetable Recipe Search
Daikon Radish – The word Daikon actually comes from two Japanese words: dai (meaning large) and kon (meaning root). Daikon is is root vegetable said to have originated in the Mediterranean and brought to China for cultivation around 500 B.C. Roots are large, often 2- to 4-inches in diameter and 6- to 20-inches long. There are three distinct shapes – spherical, oblong and cylindrical.
Radishes have been developed in Asia which develop very large roots, reportedly up to 40 or 50 pounds, and with leaf top spreads of more than 2 feet (they require a long growing season for such development. These types are grown in the U.S., mainly by the Asian population for use in Asian dishes). Most of the commonly available Chinese radishes are white, but some are yellowish, green or black.
More daikon is produced in Japan than any other vegetable. Many different varieties of this versatile vegetable are cultivated, depending on the region.
These radishes are generally marketed in bunches of three or four roots for the small variety and one to three roots for the larger variety, depending on size.
Culture – Culture is similar to the common radish, except that daikons are bigger and need more space and a longer growing season. A deep, loose, moist, fertile soil is required. Plant in late winter or early spring for spring and summer use and in July for fall harvest.
Availability – Chinese radishes are grown commercially in Texas, primarily near Houston in south Texas. Major production is in California. They can be found on the market 12 months out of the year, especially in areas having an Asian population.
Selection – As with any root crop, look for Chinese radishes that are free of growth cracks and bruises with firm and crisp roots. Chinese radishes keep well in refrigeration if they are placed in a sealed container or plastic bag to maintain high humidity.
Storage – Chinese radishes will keep well in the refrigerator if they are placed in a sealed container or plastic bag in order to maintain high humidity.
Preparation – This is an extremely versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw in salads or cut into strips or chips for relish trays. It also can be stir-fried, grilled, baked, boiled or broiled. Use the daikon as you would a radish. It may be served raw in salads or grated for use as a condiment (if you don’t have a Japanese-style grater, use a cheese grater and grate just before serving), pickled, or simmered in a soup. They are also preserved by salting as in making sauerkraut. Daikon also is used in soups and simmered dishes. To prepare, peel skin as you would a carrot and cut for whatever style your recipe idea calls for. Not only is the root eaten, but the leaves also are rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, and iron, so they are worth using instead of discarding.
A Japanese secret to cooking daikon is to use water in which rice has been washed or a bit of rice bran added (this keeps the daikon white and eliminates bitterness and sharpness}.
For Chips, Relish Tray Sticks or Stir Fries – Simply peel Daikon with a peeler and cut crossways for thin chips. Dip thin chips in ice water and they will crisp and curl for a Daikon chip platter with your favorite sour cream or yogurt dip. Cut into julienne strips for relish trays, salads or stir-frys.
Nutrition Information – Daikon is very low in calories. A 3-ounce serving contains only 18 calories and provides 34 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Rich in vitamin C, daikon contains active enzymes that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods. Select those that feel heavy and have lustrous skin and fresh leaves.
Did you know that greens are possibly the best part of this vegetable? In Asian cooking, they are often sauteéd, added to salads for flavor, or even pickled in kimchi. The radish can be pickled, served raw in salads or cole slaws, simmered in soups, or braised with meats.
Radish greens do not stay fresh for very long, and it is best separate them from the roots soon after harvesting or bringing them home from the store. Wash and store the leaves like other other salad greens and use them within a day or two.
When purchasing Daikon Radishes, if the greens are attached, make sure you only select daikons with green, crisp greens that are not wilted.
Tillage radish cover crop – tips to maximize its benefits
The tillage radish or daikon radish has been bred and developed to produce a large taproot and penetrate compacted soil layers to increase soil aeration and water infiltration, to decrease compaction and to increase rooting depth opportunities for successive crops.
Tillage radishes are often promoted to help alleviate compaction, but they do not do well in poorly-drained soils prone to water-logging or during extended wet periods that are typically seen in our “rice” soils in eastern Arkansas.
Although tillage radishes may not penetrate and grow as deeply in our soils as we might want, they serve another useful purpose that can be of great value to producers — nutrient retention. The large taproot that is developed by a tillage radish can absorb and retain a significant amount of macro- and micronutrients that might otherwise be prone to leaching or other loss mechanisms during the five- to seven-month window that fields are fallow in the winter.
Think of the tillage radish taproot as a giant sponge that will absorb residual nutrients from the soil and hold them until termination in the spring.
The nutrients absorbed by the taproot are readily available to the following cash crop because the taproot is mostly water and desiccates and decays quickly, releasing those nutrients almost immediately (two to four weeks) for uptake and utilization by the following cash crop.
Tillage radish seeds are larger (20,000 to 25,000 seeds per pound) than one might think and are almost as large as grain sorghum. They work well as a single-seeded cover crop or part of a cover crop blend.
Crop rotations for tillage radish
Considering the cash crop that will be planted the following spring is the first step in developing an effective winter cover crop management plan. Tillage radishes are best-suited to precede summer crops such as soybean, corn, grain sorghum and cotton.
Ideally the following cash crop will be no-tilled into the terminated tillage radish.
To use these radishes to their full potential, producers should do all of their land preparations in the fall (pulling beds, etc.) with the intention of planting the following cash crop in the spring with no tillage. One of the primary benefits of the radishes are the “holes” or cavities left when the root dies and decays, which allows the soybeans or other following crop roots an easy channel to bore deeper in the soil profile.
If you plant radishes and then do your normal tillage operations in the spring prior to planting, you are potentially wasting one of the benefits of the radishes.
If you are flat planting or are happy with the beds that were used during the previous summer, tillage radish can be effectively no-till planted into crop residues, but close attention should be paid to planting depth to ensure adequate seed to soil contact for optimum radish establishment.
When flat-planting tillage radish into a stale seedbed or previous crop residue, consider pulling drainage ditches to aid in the removal of standing water during the wet winter months. Tillage radish are similar to winter wheat and do not like saturated soil conditions or ponded water.
Tillage radish performance is highly influenced by planting date. The earlier you can get them established, the better the results you will see the following year.
Tuber growth occurs primarily in the fall prior to winter dormancy or winterkill. There is minimal tuber growth in the spring after the radishes break dormancy as they switch into reproductive growth. Therefore, the majority of your benefits associated with tillage radish occur in the fall — the early planting dates will perform better.
Minimum soil temperatures for tillage radish germination is 45 degrees F, so they can be planted late in the fall and still germinate. However, late-planted radishes do not have adequate time to grow and develop the large taproot or above-ground biomass critical to their success as a cover crop prior to the cold temperatures that restrict growth during December to February.
Ideal planting dates for tillage radish in Arkansas are as follows:
• Northern Arkansas (north of Hwy. 64) — Aug. 15 to Oct. 1.
• Central Arkansas (south of Hwy 64 to north of Pine Bluff) — Aug. 15 to Oct. 15.
• South Arkansas (south of Pine Bluff) — Aug. 15 to – Nov. 1.
Plantings following corn or grain sorghum can be done as early as August and often lead to the best performance of the tillage radish due to the early establishment date and the residual nutrients that are found following these particular crops.
Crops that tend to be harvested later in the year such as rice and soybean limit the window of opportunity to establish tillage radish, but it can be done.
Planting date should also take into consideration any postemergence herbicide applications made to the preceding crop. Residual herbicide activity that can be problematic for tillage radishes includes flumetsulam (Python), chlorimuron (Classic, Canopy, Cloak, etc.), imazethapyr (Pursuit, Newpath), and fomesafen (Reflex, etc.).
Herbicide activity is a function of soil texture, moisture and microbial activity. If you are concerned about residual herbicide activity influencing your radish establishment, you can easily gather soil from the fields of interest (both on beds and in-furrow) and do a simple germination test with your tillage radish seed to determine if there is a potential problem.
• Precision planter — 4 pounds of seed per acre.
• Drilled on 7.5- to 15-inch row spacings — 4 to 6 pounds of seed per acre.
• Broadcast or aerial seeding — 8 to 10 pounds of seed per acre.
• Planting depth — 0.25 inch to 1 inch.
Most tillage radish seeds are similar in size to grain sorghum or milo and can be planted with similar equipment.
In most of the soils in eastern Arkansas, tillage radishes that are planted prior to Oct. 1 will not require N fertilizer for producers to get the full benefits of the radishes. Tillage radishes planted after Oct. 1 will benefit from 30 to 60 units of N to grow properly and achieve maximum rooting depth.
For radishes following rice on silt loam soils, somewhere between 50 and 80 units of N are needed to maximize rooting depth.
We have not conducted any research on clay soils, but 50 to 60 units of N will probably be needed for late plantings.
There is no need to fertilize tillage radishes with P or K for optimal results on the majority of our soils. Land that has been recently leveled will often benefit from the application of 1 to 2 tons of poultry litter per acre. Applying the litter prior to planting tillage radishes will help with performance and will capture nutrients released by the poultry litter throughout the fall and winter months.
Research has shown that the majority of N, P, and K taken up by the radishes is available to the following crop within a month after the radishes are killed.
The radishes should be killed in the spring prior to flowering to prevent seed dispersal and the potential for volunteer radishes in successive crops. Like other brassica (mustard) species, the plants will send up a tall flowering structure prior to maturity. In our experience, it is best to apply your herbicide prior to this flowering structure reaching more than 4 to 5 inches in height.
Current recommendations are to apply 1 quart per acre of glyphosate with 1 pint per acre of 2,4-D and to apply before flowering for adequate burndown. If tillage radishes are in the reproductive stage, it will difficult to kill with any herbicide.
Tillage radish planted early will often grow large enough to winterkill, which is another benefit of early planting. Typically, if the radish tuber is 3 to 4 inches above the soil surface, an average Arkansas winter will kill these radishes. If tubers are close to the ground or there is no tuber exposed, it will rarely get cold enough to winterkill the radishes.
We are continuing to work with these and other cover crops to improve row-crop performance in Arkansas. This research was supported by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and I give special thanks to Jason Norsworthy for contributions to this article.
Trenton Roberts is a Research Assistant Professor, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas
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Radish Growing and Harvest Information
|Soil and Water|
|Water||even and moderate to heavy.|
|Space between plants|
|In rows||1″ (small)
2″ (large) – thin to 4-6″
|Space between rows||8-12″|
|Average plants per person|
|Harvest radishes once the root has become plump. Harvest the whole crop at once.|
|First Seed starting Date||21 days before last frost date|
|Last Seed Starting Date||45 Days before first frost date|
|Companions||beets, carrots, spinach, parsnips, cucumbers, beans, lettuce|
|Incompatibles||cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels Spouts, broccoli, kohlrabi, turnips|
Radishes are a fast growing, cool-season crop that can be harvested in as little as twenty days. There are well over 200 varieties: including French radishes, daikon radishes, and other specialty varieties in a surprising array of colors, including white, purple, black, and even green. Eaten raw they can be whole, sliced, diced, or grated. You can also cook and pickle them. Most of them are typically eaten fresh, and make a good addition to salad or a substitute to pepper on a sandwich.
Where to Grow Radishes
Radishes require a spot with full sun, fertile soil and good drainage. Some varieties can be grown in partial shade. They will thrive in cool, moist soil. In cooler climates they can be planted in both the spring and fall. In warmer climates they should be grown over winter.
Recommended Radish Varieties
- Cherry Belle is the classic radish. Their roots are bright red, mildly pungent, and mature somewhere between 1/4 -1 inch in diameter. Cherry Belle is one of the few varieties that can be grown in the shade and matures in about 24 days.
- White Icicle radishes have a mildly hot flavor. They are white and about 6 inches long, maturing in about 20 days. This variety of radish requires well-cultivated soil as it has deeper roots than other varieties.
- French Breakfast is red with a white tip and a similar shape to the White Icicle. It has excellent flavor, withstands early summer heat and is ready for harvest in about 24 days.
- Champion radishes are bright red with a crisp white flesh. They do best in cool weather and are a good choice for early or late season planting. They are ready to harvest in about 28 days.
- Easter Egg is a multicolored mix of red, purple, and white round radishes, these are a surprise every time you harvest them.
- Miyashige has long white roots, and is the classic Asian daikon radish. Sow in late summer for a fall harvest. Miyashige stores and pickles well.
Soil for Radishes
Radishes are not very particular about soil type, but will do best with rich, well drained soil with a pH of about 6.5. Till the soil 6-10” deep, removing all rocks and mix in good compost. If your soil is clay, you may want to add some compost and sand to loosen it up a little. As most plants, they would prefer a healthy addition of compost worked into the soil at planting time to provide some good organic matter to the soil. Radishes do nicely where leaves have been worked into the soil the previous fall.
Radishes are particularly sensitive to any interruptions to their growth, and consequently are best direct seeded outdoors. They are sensitive to frost, but if required, they can be sown indoors about 2 weeks prior to the first frost. If sown indoors, use a biodegradable pot so that you can plant the whole pot when it comes time to transplant them outdoors to minimize disruptions to their root system. Whether you plant indoors or out, the most important thing is to keep the soil moist. Sow seeds about 1/2“ deep and about an inch apart, with 8-12” between rows, depending on how large your variety is. Once the radishes begin to grow, you can thin them to about every 2”.
Radishes can be sown wherever there is an empty space, from early spring until early summer, and starting again in the early fall. They make useful “row markers” sown among slow germinating plants like carrots and parsnips. By the time the carrots or parsnips have germinated, it is close to the time to harvest the radishes. Since they germinate in a few days, it makes weeding between the rows much easier.
Keep your rows of radishes weed free and give them a heavy watering every three days to ensure proper root development.
Radishes are at their best for a very short time. If they are left in the ground too long, they will develop a sharp taste and a pithy texture, and their roots will eventually split. Radishes are ready to harvest in as little as 20 days, depending on the variety. Once the root has become plump, they are ready to pick. Harvest the whole crop once it matures, and store them in the refrigerator. If harvesting in hot weather, pull radishes from the soil and drop into a bucket of cold water. Remove greens and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Storage can be extended up to several months in a properly maintained root cellar.
|Remove green tops and store in plastic bags or containers with some water inside the refrigerator|
- Fleas Beetles will leave small holes in radish leaves, and do seem to have a preference for radishes. Your radishes will likely do just fine even if the leaves have a few holes in them.
- Root Maggots will leave holes or channels in the radish skins.
A lightweight, floating row cover applied at the time the seeds go into the ground will keep flea beetles away, and also prevent root maggots from spoiling the roots.
None of major concern.
Radishes as a trap crop
Insects tend to have preferences, much like humans when it comes to what they eat. They may eat one garden plant when it is the only thing available, but if given the choice, they might choose something they like better. These preferred plants are often within the same plant family. Root maggots that like broccoli roots, also like radish roots. Flea beetles like broccoli and cabbage seedlings, but also like kale, turnips, pak choi and radishes. That’s the idea behind a trap crop. You could for instance, plant radishes with the primary intent that they would attract the root maggots and flea beetles and leave your broccoli and cabbage alone. Many gardeners have found radish to be a good trap crop to protect many of the cabbage family plants.
What Is Daikon: Learn How To Grow Daikon Radish Plants
Cultivating daikon in the garden is a great way to enjoy something a little different. Planting daikon radishes isn’t difficult and once you learn how to grow daikon radish plants, you’ll be able to enjoy them year round in warm climates or replant them each year in cooler regions.
What is Daikon?
A daikon is a Chinese radish (Raphanus sativus longipinnatus), also known as lobok and oriental radish. Daikon has large roots, and some of the biggest varieties can weigh up to 50 pounds. The most common types weigh from 1 to 2 pounds at maturity and can have up to a 2-foot leaf spread.
Most people cook daikon radishes, but they can also be used in salads. Growing daikon radishes is a nutritious and enjoyable pursuit. These tasty radishes are low in calories and full of essential vitamins and nutrients. Daikon radishes are even grown year round in most parts of California and similar regions.
How to Grow Daikon Radish Crops
Cultivating daikon radishes is similar to growing traditional radish varieties only they generally need more space and more time to mature.
Radishes require full sun to part shade and regular water in order to thrive. Install drip irrigation for best results and put a 1-inch layer of mulch around plants to conserve moisture.
Radishes also grow best in temperatures below 80 F. (27 C.)
Planting Daikon Radishes
In spring, you can plant these radishes as soon as you can work the soil. Continual planting every 10 to 14 days will ensure successive crops.
As with other radishes, growing daikon radishes are good to plant in places where you will put warm season crops such as peppers, tomatoes or squash.
If you want mature radishes in the spring, you can also plant them in the winter with the use of a cold frame or some other means of protection, unless you live in a temperate climate.
Place the seeds ¾ inch deep and 6 inches apart. Leave 3 feet between rows to allow for mature spread. The plants will mature within 60 to 70 days.
Now that you know more about how to grow daikon radish plants in the garden, why not give them a try and enjoy these tasty crops.
Growing Daikon Successfully
a crop insert from the Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook, Small Farm Center
Daikon is also known as Lobok, Oriental Radish, or Chinese Radish.
Daikon has extremely large roots. The Sakurajima variety, one of the largest, can weigh as much as 50 pounds. Most oriental radishes are in the 1 to 2 1/2 pound class at full maturity. Leaf spreads of more than 2 feet are common. The leaves differ from those of spring radish types in that they have great notches and they spread from the root tops in rosette fashion. Some varieties form large round or top-shaped roots, while others are cylindrical.
This type of radish is usually cooked rather than eaten fresh, but it can be used raw in salads. In Japan, the radishes are often pickled.
Daikon contains no Vitamin A, 22 mg of Vitamin C, 0.6 g of protein, and 27 mg of calcium per 100 g raw, edible portion (about 1 cup of sliced daikon).
Culture is similar to that used for more familiar radish varieties. Plant the seed 3/4 inch deep in the fall (September through October) so the roots will enlarge in the cool months. The seeds and then the plants should be 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. To compensate for the large root size, plant oriental radishes on high raised beds fortified with organic matter (compost). At each cultivation, work the soil higher and higher around the root as it grows. Most oriental radishes reach their best useable size in 60 to 70 days.
Harvest and postharvest practices
The USDA storage recommendations are 32¡F to 34¡F at 95 percent to 100 percent relative humidity, with an approximate storage life of four months.
Daikon Seed Sources
- W. Atlee Burpee & Company
300 Park Avenue
Warminster, PA 18974
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Foss Hill Road
Albion, ME 04910
- Nichols Garden Nursery 1190 North Pacific Highway
Albany, OR 97321
- Park Seed Co.
Greenwood, SC 29647-0001
- Seeds Blum
Idaho City Stage
Boise, ID 83706
- Shepherd’s Garden Seeds Shipping Office, 30 Irene Street
Torrington, CT 06790
Prepared by Claudia Myers.
Order the Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook by calling the Small Farm Center at (530) 752-8136.
Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus
It has always seemed to me that daikon radish is one of the easiest fall crops to grow. Sometimes I’ve sown seeds and forgotten about them, only to return to large white roots.
These radishes require little upkeep and store well. During the dark of winter, I love munching on them to add some zing to an otherwise dreary day.
What Is Daikon?
Daikon is a specific type of radish characterized by its large root. It’s no surprise that its name comes from two Japanese words: dai, which means large, and kon, which means root.
It also has a longer date to maturity than other types of radish, which makes sense for its larger size.
Like all radishes, it is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Daikon also goes by other names including white radish, Chinese radish, and Japanese radish.
Cultivation and History
Although daikon is widely grown and consumed throughout East Asia, it is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean. However, these radishes soon made their way to countries including China, Japan, and Korea sometime during the third or fourth century.
Since then, they have been a mainstay in certain Asian cuisines, appearing in dishes including stews, stir fries, and ferments.
Daikon is a winter radish, meaning it grows best when it is allowed to mature in colder weather. Therefore, it is typically planted in mid-summer to early fall, depending on your growing zone.
These radishes are often used as cover crops to loosen soil and reduce erosion. This has given them the name tillage radishes.
How to Sow
As with other radishes, these are best grown via direct seeding. The date when you should plant seeds depends on your growing zone. Daikon radishes can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 2-11.
Aim to sow seeds around two months before your predicted first frost date. This will ensure plants mature in time for harvest.
No matter where you are located, sow one seed every inch in rows 12-18 inches apart. Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
How to Grow
As mentioned above, this crop is best grown via direct seeding. Before you plant the seeds, you want to make sure you prepare your soil.
Daikon radishes grow best in soil with a pH of 5.8-6.8. Although their roots can loosen compacted soil, they grow best where soil is already loose. If your soil is compacted, consider loosening it with a broadfork before planting.
Since you will be harvesting the roots, avoid applying excessive amounts of nitrogen to the soil. Too much nitrogen will grow large greens, but small roots.
Choose a full sun to partial shade location for best results.
Once you plant your seeds, make sure you keep the soil moist, and they will germinate within a few days. Within a week of germination, thin seedlings to 4-6 inches apart.
Plants will mature in 40-70 days, depending on the variety. Don’t fret if part of the root is visible above ground; this is normal.
Water should be provided every few days if rain doesn’t fall. You are aiming for moist, but not wet, soil.
- Avoid applying excessive nitrogen, to ensure development of roots.
- Thin seedlings so roots have space to size up.
- Loosen soil so roots can grow large.
Cultivars to Select
Daikon come in three main types: oblong, tapered, and round.
The difference between these types is in their root shape. Some are rounded with nearly the same circumference from top to root, some have more of a narrow and tapered shape similar to a carrot, and others are nearly spherical.
Cultivars also vary in root color, with most being some combination of white and light green.
This heirloom variety produces oblong roots that can grow up to two feet in length. The roots are all white, and can be stored for multiple weeks after harvest.
Ready to eat in 45-60 days, the ‘Japanese Minowase’ cultivar is also known for being adaptable to sun or shade.
Find seeds at Eden Brothers.
The ‘Long’ cultivar has white tapered roots with light green tops.
This type can grow up to 14 inches in length. Expect about 60 days to maturity. It can be grown in the spring as well as in the fall.
Find seeds at Burpee.
This variety has oblong roots that grow 5-8 inches long. The exterior of the roots is bright red while the interior ranges from white to pink.
‘Red’ is an heirloom cultivar that you can expect to be ready to harvest in as little as 30 days.
Find seeds at True Leaf Market.
An heirloom variety of daikon with a round bulb, this type is the star of the show when added to any salad or platter of crudités.
White or light green on the outside, slicing into these roots reveals bright pink flesh that is reminiscent of a watermelon.
These can be harvested when they reach golf ball size, or leave them in the ground longer for whopping grapefruit-sized roots. Expect 30-80 days to harvest.
Seeds are available from True Leaf Market.
Icicle radishes form white, narrow, tapered roots that reach about 5 inches in length at maturity. And this cultivar grows quickly – you can expect a harvest in just 27-35 days!
With a mildly pungent flavor, Burpee rates this cultivar as “Best in Class.”
Get your seeds now, available from Burpee.
Managing Pests and Disease
Pests generally don’t bother these radishes too much, however, there are some that still pop up occasionally.
Different types of insects may go after the leaves as well as the roots. Luckily, they don’t usually cause too much damage.
Flea beetles are little bugs that go after the leaves of your plants. If you see small holes in your leaves, take a closer look. You will probably see the beetles themselves, only 1/16-1/4 inch in size.
Read more about flea beetles and how to control them here.
These bugs may look pretty, but they can really do some damage to your crops. They are orange and black with shield-shaped bodies, and they feed on leafy greens.
If you only see a few bugs on your plants, simply pick them off and place them in some soapy water.
If these pests take over your crop and require more intense intervention, they can be treated with a spray of neem oil, pyrethin, or insecticidal soap.
If you pull up your daikon only to discover that they are ridden with tiny channels, the cabbage maggot is likely to blame. These pests are the juvenile form of small flies.
To prevent infestation by these insect pests, consider employing a cover cropping routine. Another method to keep pests at bay is by using floating row covers to exclude insects from your crops.
All parts of the daikon plant are susceptible to disease, both above and belowground. Again, these issues won’t usually prove to be too much of a problem for your crop.
Septoria Leaf Spot
If you see yellow spots with gray centers on your radish leaves, they are probably infected with this fungus. The best treatment is to remove infected leaves and/or plants. This will stop the spread of the fungus.
Black Root Rot
This fungus goes after your plants’ roots, turning pieces black in color and distorted in shape. If it affects small seedlings, the plants may die. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be treated once it is spotted on your plants.
However, it can be prevented using cultural methods. Don’t over water your crops and make sure they are planted in soil with good drainage.
Another way to prevent this disease is by practicing crop rotation. Since this fungus affects multiple Brassica species, make sure you don’t grow brassicas repeatedly in the same area.
Daikon radishes can be harvested once they meet their date of maturity. Check your seed packets for recommendations.
Keep in mind that although this type of radish has more of a capacity to grow large while maintaining quality than your traditional radish varieties, they can still become pithy and spongy if they are left to grow too big. Be sure to harvest before this happens.
If hit with hard frosts, the radishes will become spongy or die. However, the time to harvest can be extended by protecting plants with floating row covers.
Varieties with long and slender roots are fragile and susceptible to snapping. You can prevent them from breaking by loosening the soil with a pitchfork, broadfork, or shovel.
Once your soil is adequately loose, grab the leaves where they meet the tops of the roots and gently pull. Now’s the moment when you get to see just how big your daikon have grown!
Once the plants are pulled from the ground, cut off the leaves at their base. With the leaves removed, the roots can be stored for multiple weeks under the right conditions.
To increase the storage life of your radishes, avoid washing the roots or leaves until you are ready to use them.
Daikon is best stored in a cold, moist environment. Therefore, the best way to store your harvest is to place the roots in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel or cloth.
You can wrap or cover them in the towel; the important thing is that you are providing a humid environment.
Leaves can be stored in a zip-top plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a few days.
These radishes are often fermented on their own to be eaten as a type of pickle. They are also used as a component of Napa cabbage-based kimchi.
Fermenting is a simple process that only requires three main things: salt, water, and time. You can read more about fermented foods .
Recipes and Cooking Ideas
Daikon radish is a versatile crop in the kitchen. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and all parts of the plant can be consumed.
You do not need to peel this vegetable, though some people choose to do so. One simple way to eat daikon is to slice it up raw into discs that can be dipped in hummus or ranch dressing.
Another great way to eat daikon is to dice it into ½-inch cubes and then saute them in oil with garlic and ginger for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with rice noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, and your favorite fresh diced hot pepper or hot pepper flakes.
Due to their rough texture, the leaves are best enjoyed cooked via methods including sauteing and steaming. They make a great addition to Thai-inspired coconut curries.
Daikon sprouts can also be enjoyed in salads and sandwiches. See our article on sprouts and microgreens for more information to grow your own.
Quick Reference Growing Guide
|Plant Type:||Annual||Water Needs:||1/2 inch per week|
|Native To:||Mediterranean, East Asia||Maintenance:||Low|
|Hardiness (USDA Zone):||2-11||Soil Type:||Rich, well aerated|
|Exposure:||Full sun to partial shade||Soil Drainage:||Well draining|
|Time to Maturity:||40-70 days||Companion Planting:||Marigolds, scallions|
|Spacing:||4-6 inches||Avoid Planting With:||Garlic, corn, potatoes, tomatoes|
|Planting Depth:||1/4-1/2 inch||Family:||Brassicaceae|
|Spread:||6 inches||Species and Cultivar:||R. sativus var. longipinnatus|
|Tolerance:||Cold, light frost, high air temperatures, depending on variety|
|Pests & Diseases:||Flea beetles, harlequin bugs, cabbage maggots, septoria leaf spot, black root rot|
Grow Some Giant Radishes
Now that you know how to plant and grow these large radishes, it’s time to add them to your fall garden. You’ll be impressed with their size and how easy they are to grow.
To see how this crop can fit in with the rest of your fall plans, check out some other cool-weather-loving crops here!
And if you want to learn how to grow other fall crops, read these guides next:
- How to Plant and Grow Cabbage
- A Flavor You’ve Come to Love: How to Grow Brussels Sprouts
- Growing Kohlrabi
Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Product photos courtesy of Eden Brothers, True Leaf Market, and Burpee. Uncredited photos: .
About Briana Yablonski
Briana Yablonski grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania and currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant sciences and has worked on farms in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee. Now, she spends many hours planting seeds and moving compost at her market garden. When she’s not immersed in the world of gardening, Briana enjoys walking dogs at the local shelter and riding her bike. She believes that gardening fosters curiosity, continuous learning, and wonder.
Time your radish plantings a week apart for a longer harvest period. The secret to growing a great radish is to plant when the weather is cool, to not plant too close together and to harvest promptly before the roots get woody and bitter. Every part of the radish is edible. If you leave some of your radishes to go to seed you’ll find the pods before seed set are tender and juicy with a wonderfully sharp flavour that is excellent in stir-fries and soups. If you harvest the seeds before they dry they have a taste and texture reminiscent of caviar. Imagine the fresh seeds lightly sautéed with garlic and thyme on a bed of radish leaves. A gourmet delight! Follow along with this handy How to Grow Radishes from seed Guide and crunchy salad delights.
We Recommend: If you don’t already have a favourite, go for variety! The certified organic Easter Egg Mix (RD676) can’t be surpassed for showing everything a radish can be. Not only do you get a mix of colours, but you’ll come to appreciate subtle flavour differences, and differences in piquancy, or “hotness.”
Season & Zone
Season: Cool season
Exposure: Full sun
Radishes can be grown all season but they’re easiest when sown March/April and again August through October. Optimal soil temperature: 18-24°C (65-75°F). Seeds should sprout in 5-7 days.
Sow seeds 5mm (¼”) deep, 25 seeds per 30cm (12″) in rows spaced 30-45cm (12-18″) apart, and thin to 6-12 plants per 30cm (12″).
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. Radishes are moderate to heavy feeders. Best in rich, loamy soil amended with composted manure. add 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer for every 3m (10′) of row for background fertility. Lime beds the previous fall. The real secret to growing this little vegetable is speed. Sow a short row frequently, thin them quickly, keep them watered, eat them quickly, and sow some more.
Harvest promptly when radishes are the size of large marbles. Leaves and developing seedpods are also tasty.
In optimal conditions at least 80% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 4 years. Per 100′ row: 1.2M seeds, per acre: 522M seeds.
Diseases & Pests
Root maggots and flea beetles can be a problem. Expect to lose 20-30% of your crop to maggots if you don’t use a floating row cover.
Plant radishes near beans, beets, celeriac, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, mint, parsnip, peas, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. Avoid planting near agastache or potatoes. It is said that planting 3 or 4 icicle radishes around the mound where you plant squash, and allowing them to grow and bloom, will prevent most pests of squash and cucumber.
More on Companion Planting.
Growing Radish in the Home Garden.
A step by step guide for growing radish
Today, we discuss the growing radish, radish planting methods, radish plant growth stages, growing radish plant indoors. Radishes reach the stage of maturity rapidly. Few varieties of radishes take only 20 days from the stage of seed to get matured. They are also very hardy. The flavor of radishes is peppery and it will add extra taste to soups and salads. Radishes require very small space in your garden. To start the growth of radishes in a successful manner, it would be helpful if you follow the below instructions.
Varieties of radishes:
- You will have to make a decision about what type of radishes you are interested to plan. Like most of the vegetables, there are large numbers of varieties of radishes considering both open-pollinated and hybrid. If you have just begun gardening, you can take into consideration growing Cherry belle radishes as they reach the stage of maturity in just about 3 weeks and they also have a flavor which is mild and pleasant.
- Spring radishes are the ones which most of the people know about similar to Cherry Belle radish which would be red externally and white internally. You will have to ensure that you are growing these at the time of spring or autumn. These are the radishes which grow fast.
- In the same way, summer radish is almost the same as the spring radish but it grows very slowly and takes around 2 months to reach the stage of maturity.
- The winter radish is larger than the spring and summer radishes and it will take a long time to grow. It is perfect to start sowing this at the end of summer for a harvest at the time of spring or autumn. Daikon and Champions are the types of winter radishes. Daikon will be able to grow up to a length of 18 inches and will take 2 months to reach the stage of maturity and this will consist of varieties which are extra-spicy.
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Preparation of soil for plantation:
- Choose the correct spot for growth. The plantation of radishes has to be done in an area that receives full sun. Even partial shade is acceptable with a soil which is well-drained. Make sure that you are removing any rocks which are present in the soil as the roots will undergo bifurcation around the rocks which will be in their path. Addition of organic matter to the soil has to be done prior to the plantation like manure, compost or leaf mould.
- Ensure that you are radishes are receiving a lot of sunlight. Else, they will grow to be big on the top and tiny in the root part. Anyways, too much amount of sunlight may cause radishes to start seeding.
- The soil should not consist of any rocks. It should be well-drained and its pH has to be around 7.5. The pH has to be high as it will help in the prevention of clubroot, a fungus which infects brassica and caused swelling in roots, cracks, and rot and sometimes lead to the death of the plant.
- For increasing the pH, you will have to add some amount of agricultural lime or dolomite lime at the time of autumn. Make sure that you are using a lot of organic matter such as compost in the soil.
- In order to get the best results, you will have to test the soil or you can also send some samples of soil to a lab for checking if it has a proper amount of nutrients. You will have to make amendments to the soil at least a week prior to the plantation.
- Radishes are the vegetables which love to grow when the climatic conditions are cool. It would be best when you plant them at the time of spring or autumn. Considering to grow radishes when the climatic conditions are hot may lead to bolting. Plantation of your first crop can be done prior to two weeks of the last frost at the time of spring as radishes will be able to tolerate frost well.
- Make sure that you are not growing radishes when summer comes up. This will generally mean that if you are having 16°C daily, you should stop the plantation of radishes until the climatic conditions become cooler.
- The germination of a typical spring radish will take place in about 5 days and it would be prepared for harvest in about a month.
- As radishes are the vegetables which grow quickly, you can also consider inter-cropping them between the vegetables which grow slowly for making row markers. You can also consider succession planting them by starting to sow a new row on a weekly basis. This can be done for spreading the harvest for a longer time.
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Growing radish plants:
- Let us discuss the radish plant growth stages For growing the radishes, you will have to first sow the seeds of radish. They should be sown at a depth of ½ inch and a distance of 1 inch from each other. As they undergo the process of germination, the seedlings which are successful have to be thinned so that there would be a distance of at least 2 inches from each other, giving more amount of space for the radish varieties which are bigger. The plantation of rows has to be done at a distance of 1 foot from each other.
- The thinning of radishes should be done when they grow to a length of 1 inch. Make sure that you are cutting off their heads up to the soil by making use of a tiny pair of scissors.
- If you are going with the plantation of large radish, the first thing you have to do is the plantation of seeds at a depth of 1 inch.
- Radishes are the ones which do well when planted as companion plants as they keep away most of the pests from common plants and moreover, they grow very quickly. Radishes have to be planted along with cabbages, parsnips, and carrots.
- Make sure that you are watering the radishes when they are growing. The radish beds have to be maintained in moist conditions, but make sure that you are not soaking them. Radishes have to be watered in a frequent and uniform manner so that it would lead them to quick growth. If radishes are growing slowly, then their taste would be woody and hot. Also, make sure that you are adding compost to the radish bed as you wish so that it would help in retaining the moisture.
- If you are not watering the radishes in a uniform manner, then there are chances that there would be cracks in your radishes.
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Growing radish in containers:
- Growing radish indoors is also possible. Start the preparation of the container at a minimum depth of 6 inches. A container with a diameter of 16 inches will be able to accommodate at least 5 radishes while a pot which is 24 inches would be able to accommodate 20 radishes. Also, make sure that the container has a drainage hole at its base.
- The container has to be filled with a standard potting medium which is commercial. The potting medium has to be lightweight as it will be well-drained. Make sure that you are avoiding garden soil which will become compact and will not let the water to get drained.
- Also, work on a time-release fertilizer by adding it to the potting medium. Make use of a garden fertilizer with an n-p-k ratio of 10-10-10. The fertilizer has to be applied at a rate of a half tablespoon of dry fertilizer for 3 liters of the potting mixture.
- Now, the radish seeds have to be sprinkled on the soil surface, Make sure that you are covering the seeds with ½ inch of soil.
- The radishes have to be watered in a careful manner so that you can avoid washing of seeds from the soil. Water has to be added until it passes through the drainage holes. After that, you can water whenever you feel that the soil’s top is dry when you touch it with your fingers. Radishes may need watering on a daily basis when the climatic conditions are warm as the soil which is present in the container gets dried rapidly.
- The container has to be placed in a location where there would be exposed for radishes to the sun for at least 6 hours a day.
- The plants have to be fertilized when the radishes start emerging. Make sure that you are applying a water-soluble fertilizer which is balanced and this has to be applied based on the instructions present on the label. This has to be repeated for every 7 to 15 days until the time of harvest.
- The radishes have to be thinned when the plants reach a length of 2 inches. The plants have to be placed at a distance of 2 inches from each other.
- The radishes have to be harvested as soon as they reach the size which is edible. But make sure that it does not exceed 1 inch in terms of diameter. Do not wait for too long as the radishes will develop a bitter flavor in a quick manner.
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