Gardening | 2 October 2015Growing Radishes Indoors Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you’ve ever found yourself wishing for the fresh flavors of summer throughout the rest of the year, then indoor kitchen gardening is for you. And if you’ve ever wished for a gardening guide that pairs expert information with an incredibly personable and engaging voice, Elizabeth Millard’s book Indoor Kitchen Gardening is your answer. Many plants with a shallow root system can grow well indoors, such as beets, radishes, some varieties of carrots, lettuces, and with the right conditions, even hot peppers and tomatoes. Here, Elizabeth walks readers through the process of planting, growing, caring for, and harvesting radishes indoors. Plant them during cooler temperatures, and enjoy their spicy, bright flavor all year long. The best thing about growing radishes (indoors or out) is that they grow very quickly; sometimes they’re ready to eat less than a month after planting. Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening Trays, Pots, and Other Containers for Growing Radishes When choosing a container, you can plant several radishes in a round pot, but I tend to like a narrow, rectangular pot to mimic the way that radishes would grow in the field. They need to be at least a few inches apart for adequate growth, so putting them in a long container will create a nice row that’s also visually appealing. Prep Work for Growing Radishes Consider planting radishes during a cooler part of the year, like late spring or early autumn. Although radishes planted indoors won’t be as sensitive to sudden temperature changes the way they would outside, they do like cooler temps. That’s why they’re often one of the first crops to be harvested at the farm. In terms of soil, standard indoor potting mix will work, and just make sure that there’s adequate drainage. This is one case where a little compost mixed into the soil would be beneficial, since radishes tend to like some added nutrients. Planting and Care First Steps: Sow the radish seeds about ½ inch deep, which usually means putting them in the soil and poking them down slightly. Sow the radish seeds so they are ½ inch deep and about 2 inches apart. Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening I like to place the seeds about 2 inches apart, with the recognition that I might need to “thin” them at some point to let the heartier radishes thrive. Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening Sprinkle some potting mix on top of the new seeds, and water so that the soil is dampened but not soaked. Place in a sunny spot, or under a full-spectrum fluorescent. To help with germination, create a “mini-greenhouse” environment by covering with plastic wrap for a few days until you begin to see them sprout. Once this starts, remove the wrap and mist with a spray bottle until the soil is moist. After planting and topdressing with a light layer of potting mix, water the radishes and then stretch some plastic wrap over the pot for a couple of days. Photo credit: Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening Maintaining Radish Growth Here are some tips on getting your radishes from seed to harvest: Water regularly—unlike some crops that should be watered when the soil is particularly dry, radishes do well with a frequent, predictable watering schedule. This will help them to grow more quickly, which leads to a milder taste rather than the overly peppery, woody taste that occurs when radishes grow too slowly or are left for too long before harvest. Plant more in additional containers every few weeks—this is equivalent to crop rotation, but on a tiny scale. Planting on a continual basis will ensure that you always have radishes in progress to replace the ones you harvest, so you don’t have to wait another month after picking to get more radishes. Pick radishes when they are still relatively small and tender. Photo credit: Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening Troubleshooting Radishes Some common problems with radishes and potential solutions: Leaves Are Brown and/or Drooping Most likely, this is a light issue. Since radishes prefer cooler environments, try moving the pot to an area with more indirect sunlight, or moving it farther from its grow light. Radishes Don’t Seem to Have Enough Room to Grow In the field, we plant radishes quite close together and then thin them later, so that the strongest are given the chance to thrive. This increases the yield on a harvest, but for a home garden effort, you don’t need to plant them quite this intensively. If you do happen to experience crowding, simply pluck out the young radishes that seem weaker, and remember, you can eat the greens so that they don’t go to waste. My Radishes Are Tough and Taste Dry and Woody There’s not much that can be done at this point since they’ve already been harvested, but it’s good to note for the future so that you can harvest them earlier next time. Some people believe radishes should be larger before they can be eaten, so they wait until the radishes are the size of small apples, but for most varieties, that’s too large. Harvesting and Preservation Getting Ready to Pick Radishes Often, much like carrots, radishes will “shoulder” when they’re ready to be picked. That means they push up out of the soil with part of the vegetable showing. This is hugely helpful in determining the size of the radish, which should be about an inch in diameter at harvest time. Radishes are ready for picking when the shoulder is about an inch across—don’t let them get any bigger, as they tend to get woody. Photo credit: Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening If they aren’t shouldering, gently dig into the soil with your finger until you can feel the top of the radish, and this will give you an idea of the size. If they’re not ready, just replace whatever soil you’ve moved and check again in a few days. Once they’re ready for harvest, just take hold at the base of the leaves and give a firm tug. It doesn’t take much effort, and they tend to pop out easily. For most of us, one or two sharp-flavored radishes go a long way, making them a great choice for indoor, small-space planting. Photo credit: Photo credit: Crystal Liepa / Indoor Kitchen Gardening Storing Radishes If you’ll be storing radishes instead of eating them immediately, just brush the soil off and store them instead of washing them right away. This helps to keep them fresh for longer. Radishes last for weeks if stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer. ————————————————- Indoor Kitchen Gardening Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: About Indoor Kitchen Gardening: As featured in the New York Times and named to “Best Garden Books of 2014” by the Chicago Tribune It takes just a few dollars and a few days for you to start enjoying fresh, healthy produce grown indoors in your own home. Imagine serving a home-cooked meal highlighted with beet, arugula, and broccoli microgreens grown right in your kitchen, accompanied by sautéed winecap mushrooms grown in a box of sawdust in your basement. If you have never tasted microgreens, all you really need to do is envision all the flavor of an entire vegetable plant concentrated into a single tantalizing seedling. If you respond to the notion of nourishing your guests with amazing, fresh, organic produce that you’ve grown in your own house, condo, apartment, basement, or sunny downtown office, then you’ll love exploring the expansive new world of growing and eating that can be discovered with the help of Indoor Kitchen Gardening. Inside, author and Bossy Acres CSA co-owner Elizabeth Millard teaches you how to grow microgreens, sprouts, herbs, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and more– all inside your own home, where you won’t have to worry about seasonal changes or weather conditions. Filled with mouthwatering photography and more than 200 pages of Do-It-Yourself in-home gardening information and projects, Indoor Kitchen Gardening is your gateway to this exciting new growing method–not just for garnishes or relishes, but wholesome, nutritious, organic edibles that will satisfy your appetite as much as your palate. About the Author: Elizabeth Millard is the author of Indoor Kitchen Gardening, which focuses on practical tips for growing herbs, vegetables, and fruits in indoor settings. She and her partner, Karla Pankow, also own Bossy Acres, a 100-member community supported agriculture farm in Minnesota that provides seasonal produce to members and area restaurants in an effort to build a strong and sustainable local food system. Millard often leads workshops on vegetable and herb gardening as well as herb preparation, fermentation, and cooking with seasonal ingredients. As editor of local sustainable food site Simple Good and Tasty, she encourages readers to connect with the state’s abundance of organic growers, ranchers, food artisans, nonprofit agencies, and each other, forging a stronger food landscape. In addition to farming, teaching, and editing, she has contributed articles to Hobby Farm Home, Experience Life, and Urban Farm magazines, along with many other publications. She and Karla live in south Minneapolis with their two impossibly spoiled dogs, Idgy and Ruthie Mae. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.