A staple of Japanese and Korean cuisine, daikon radishes are unbelievably fast-growing even in the cool, shortening days of autumn and are an excellent, under appreciated root for the winter kitchen.
They excel in cooked preparations, especially stir-fries and roasts, where their flesh is tender, buttery, and mild. It can be grated with a little sesame oil or soy sauce to make a tasty garnish and can be cooked like turnips or pickled.
'Minowase Summer Cross' is a popular Japanese daikon type radish that has a long, white tapered root. It has a mild taste that is excellent for Oriental dishes. Reaching 40cm (16in) long and 6cm (2½in) in diameter and weigh up to 1.75 lbs.
The roots can be harvested after the first mild frosts without much damage and store beautifully in a root cellar or right in the fridge. Slice them for stir-fries and salads, cooking or pickling.
The Minowase is the finest radish variety for summer sowing to autumn harvest. Sown from mid June to mid July, it can be harvested during cooler weather during late August or September.
Resistant to mosaic virus, fusarium, with good heat tolerance and moderate bolt resistance, it is an excellent quality for both fresh market and home garden. Plant a small crop every two weeks to guarantee a continuous harvest.
Prepare the site:
Radishes prefer regular garden soil, Soil should be worked to a depth of at least 20cm (8in) to keep the roots nice and straight, smooth, etc. Do not use raw or fresh manure on this crop or it will quickly bolt to seed. Smaller growers should consider raised beds. Radishes can handle a little shade, especially if the temperatures are creeping up, but they need several hours of direct sun to fully develop.
Sow seeds direct in late spring through summer after last frost in a warm, sunny location. Sown from mid June to mid July, it can be harvested during cooler weather during late August or September. Seed germinates in 5 to 7 days at 4 to 21°C (40 to 70°F). Make successive plantings, at least three sowings a few days apart.
Sow outdoors in a sunken drill 2 to 2.5cm (1in) deep, in rows 25cm (9in) apart in rows 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) apart. Fill in the soil round the stem as the seedling grows. Daikon types tend to grow up out of the ground as they mature, this causes the development of green shoulders. At each cultivation, push the soil over the top of the root to keep them white.
Keep moist and thin to 15 to 20cm (6 to 8in) apart. Proper thinning focuses the harvest and avoids disappointing stragglers that have taken too long to develop. Slow development makes radishes hot in taste and woody in texture.
If you want good-tasting radishes also pay close attention to the watering regimen you provide. Moisture stress can result in the same woody, hot radishes that poor soil conditioning and lack of fertiliser or humus will result in.
This type does best on loose ground (like carrots) so you must be careful not to compact sandy soils too much by walking down between the rows.
Harvesting: 55 to 60 days
Plants will be ready to harvest when they are of usable size and relatively young from 21 days, starting when roots are less than 1 inch in diameter.
Radishes remain in edible condition for only a short time before they become pithy (spongy) and hot.
In dry weather the bed should be watered the day before they are pulled. Gently hold the tops twist and lift. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands. The tops are very tasty and can be cooked and eaten like spinach.
Save the young thinnings of both summer and winter radishes. They are delicious with tops and bottoms intact. Both summer and winter radishes store well in the refrigerator once the tops have been removed. The radish leaves cause moisture and nutrient loss during storage.
Fresh leaves of daikon can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable, they are often removed when sold in a store because they do not adjust well to the refrigerator, yellowing quite easily.
Store greens separately for 2 to 3 days. Refrigerate radishes wrapped in plastic bags for 5 to 7 days. Store roots in dry sand, soil, or peat for winter use.
As with any Brassica member, mustard oils are responsible for the tangy taste of radishes. All varieties are excellent sources of Vitamin C and, ounce for ounce, have about 42% as much as fresh oranges.
Just like carrot tops, radish greens can be used in a variety of dishes, including raw in blended drinks or in salads. Radishes are high in Vitamin C, folate and potassium. They are known to relieve indigestion and flatulence, as well as being a good expectorant.
The radish is an anciently annual or biennial cultivated vegetable. It most likely originated in the area between the Mediterranean and the Caspian Sea. It may come from the wild radish in southwest China. It is possible that radishes were domesticated in both Asia and Europe.
The early domestication of radishes can be traced back to around about 4000 years ago. According to Herodotus (484-424 BC), radish was one of the important crops in ancient Egypt, as radish was depicted on the walls of the Pyramids. Cultivated radish and its uses were reported in China nearly 2000 years ago and in Japan, radishes were known some 1000 years ago.
Evolutionary processes and human selection of preferred types have led to significant variations in size, colour and taste. Among them, small-rooted radishes are grown in temperate regions of the world and harvested throughout the year. Larger-rooted cultivars such as Chinese radish are predominant in East and Southeast Asia.
The genus name raphanus, from the Latin raphanus (also raphanos meaning ‘radish’), derives from Ancient Greek ῥάφανος (raphanos), ῥαφανίς (raphanis).
See also rháphys or rhápys meaning ‘turnip’.
The species name sativus is taken from the Latin sativus meaning 'sown" or 'that which is sown', meaning cultivated. It is found in the binomial names of many domesticated plant species - sativus (masculine), sativum (neuter), or sativa (feminine).
The common name of Radish comes from the Latin word radix which means 'root'.
The word Daikon in Japanese means 'great root.' Daikon sprouts, known as kaiware, are a popular garnish for salads and sushi.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 50 seeds per gram Common Name Mooli, Asiatic or Oriental Radish Family Brassicaceae Genus Raphanus Species sativus L var. longipinnatus Cultivar Minowase Summer Cross Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow Sow directly from late spring through to early autumn Harvest 50 to 60 days