Last Updated on April 21, 2022
Radishes should be the first pick for your home garden. Why, you may ask? They are super easy to plant, hassle-free to maintain, and are ready to be plucked off as early as three weeks! Did I mention that you can sow them over and over again during their growing season? This is the sign that you have been looking for; let’s get digging!
The Daikon radish or the Chinese radish is a long napiform root vegetable native to Northern China. They are also readily abundant in other Asian countries, such as Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Singapore. Their cylindrical shape (similar to carrots) and cast white skin appeal to veggie lovers who prefer to devour it raw.
If you’d ask me, I’d have it pickled! Its long white roots are similar to icicles, so it is also known as the icicle or winter radish. Modern cuisines have employed their use in luxury dishes and platters. On average, a Daikon radish would weigh 1-2 pounds.
Here’s an easy video on how to pickle your homegrown radish.
Table of Contents
- Meet the Daikon Radish: Basic Knowledge and Origins
- Varieties of the Daikon Radish
- How to Care for the Daikon Radish
- Propagation of the Daikon Radish
- Harvesting and Storage Techniques
- Problems with Growing the Daikon Radish
- Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Meet the Daikon Radish: Basic Knowledge and Origins
The roots of this plant are primarily white, but this does tend to vary from region to region. The Korean variety, for example, has green roots. Their foliage is also edible and is used to garnish exquisite dishes and platters. The Daikon radish is sometimes referred to as the Tillage radish when grown as a cover crop.
Here are a few quick facts about the Daikon radish:
Family Type: Brassicaceae
Common Name: Daikon radish, Chinese radish, Mooli, winter radish, chai tau, icicle radish
Botanical Name: Raphanus Sativus
Plant Type: Annual
Size: can grow as tall as 8-24 inches
Native Area: Northern China
Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
Soil Consistency: Well-drained
Soil pH: mildly alkaline
Flower Color: White with a tinge of purple
Toxicity: Non-toxic, edible
Common Pests: Flea beetles, cutworms, cabbage loopers, aphids, and harlequin beetles
Varieties of the Daikon Radish
There are 35 varieties of such radishes.
Black Spanish Radish
Cherry Belle Radish
China Rose Radish
Chinese Green Luobo Radish
Chinese Red Meat Radish
Chinese Shao Fruit Radish
Crimson Giant Radish
Daikon Long White Radish
Scarlet Gold Radish
Easter Egg Radish
Fire and Ice Radish
French Breakfast Radish
French Dressing Radish
German Giant Radish
Giant of Sicily Radish
Green Meat Radish
Philadelphia White Box Radish
Pink Beauty Radish
Purple Plum Radish
Red Emperor Hybrid Radish
Sakurajima Mammoth Radish
Sichuan Red Beauty Radish
Singara Rat’s Tail Radish
Summer Cross Hybrid Radish
White Beauty Radish
White Globe Hailstone Radish
White Icicle Radish
Source: Home Stratosphere
How to Care for the Daikon Radish
Daikon radishes are to be sown in early fall or late summer. Since the Daikon radish has considerable height, one should plant it in a raised or in-ground bed outside. Rows are to be set 8-12 inches apart to provide adequate space for growth.
These plants are easy-going and do not demand strong attention.
The Daikon radish requires at least 6 hours of sunlight exposure in full sun and a bit more in case of partial shade.
A well-drained soil supplemented with compost is considered ideal for Daikon radishes. They will also grow in compacted clay media, albeit slowly. A pH of 5.8-6 is preferable, and ensuring low Nitrogen levels is critical for its survival.
A porous container can help you maintain adequate drainage.
These plants are moisture-loving. Herbologists recommend the use of drip irrigation which would constantly replenish water levels throughout the morning. Discontinuation of this drip is advised once the sun sets.
The ideal temperature to grow this radish is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can also survive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a further 10-degree drop would threaten the survival of the Daikon radish. In colder climates, one must employ the use of frost cloth. Conversely, protection against temperatures as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above is recommended.
These plants grow well in high humidity levels.
There is not much need for fertilizer, especially during the winter months. If you are using compost-rich soil, then you need not supply an additional dose.
If you feel that your Daikon radish needs a light dose, make sure to give it halfway through the season.
Propagation of the Daikon Radish
Seeds are employed to propagate the Daikon radish, and you should sow them into a prepared bed to cultivate a new batch.
However, there is one more hack you could use! You would notice the growth of ‘pods’ on an aged radish. They taste like mustard and are valuable tools for propagation. Collect those pods in a bag, and they’ll pop open once their moisture content depletes completely. Plant these popped pods into a prepared bed in the growing season, and you’ll soon witness growth!
Radishes might require pruning as they attract a lot of insects. The top of these radishes should be cut off and stored in a refrigerator.
Harvesting and Storage Techniques
Harvesting time is indicated by the amount by which the Daikon radish has lengthened. A height of about 8 inches suggests that it is time to pluck these babies out. Other ways to determine harvesting time are by assessing the leaf length or root bulging.
Daikon radishes do not have a long shelf life and would survive in the refrigerator for no more than 3-4 days. To prolong their life, you can pickle them or store them in a freezer; this way, they would last for a month or so.
Problems with Growing the Daikon Radish
Lack of Root Development
If your radish does not develop any roots, it means it has received considerably high heat. Try planting it again during the growing season.
Lack of Leaf Development
Poor leaf formation suggests high nitrogen levels in the soil. If this is the case, you will notice that your radish has large roots, and this happens because all the energy diverts towards root formation only.
Lower the Nitrogen levels of the soil to avoid this problem.
Root Cracks and Unpleasant Taste
These symptoms suggest that the Daikon radish received less water than it had required during growth.
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Up to 3 weeks.
Yes, the Daikon radish does have carbohydrates. But since it is a starchy vegetable, its carbohydrate content is considerably low.
You should plant it around late August.
The Daikon radish is ready to harvest when it is at least 8 inches tall.
Daikon radishes are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are thus considered healthy options for those on a Keto diet.