Monthly Archives: February 2012
Back when I had a very large vegetable garden, I liked to try something new every year. I guess that is what brought my first Daikon radish to my garden. It is a lovely vegetable, versatile in its simplicity. If your only thought of a radish is round and red, this one will amaze you. It is long and wide, shaped much a like a very large white carrot. The white flesh of the Oriental radish called ‘April Cross’ is very mild, with a most un-radish taste. Its crunch will remind you of water chestnuts. I grew Daikon ‘April Cross’ from seed ordered from Park Seed. Most Oriental radishes grow best in the cool days of fall. April Cross is quickly up and matures in 60 days to a huge white radish, often 8 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. It will withstand a light frost or two. Even if the tops are killed back, you can dig the roots.
Although many radishes can be hot, this one is not. This prize from the Orient is extremely mild. If it grows in too warm conditions or without enough moisture, it may bolt (form flower heads) just like any other radish. Bolting causes the flesh to become pithy and the flavor to become strong. If they bolt, just move them to the compost heap. They will not be worth eating.
Daikon radishes should be planted in early spring for an early summer crop, or in late summer for a fall/winter crop. If you have grown carrots and/or beets, then these radishes are grown at the same time of year in your area. To harvest a fall or winter crop, sow in midsummer to late summer. In spring, sow as soon as the ground can be worked.
The ideal air temperature to grow Daikon radishes is 40 – 65 degrees F. Planting dates in southern states are roughly either February or September. Northern area gardens should be seeded approximately in April or early to mid-August. Check with your local County Extension Service for exact dates for your area.
Given good, loose soil, kept evenly watered, and grown in cool days, this one will, as Spock says, grow and prosper – all the while keeping its tasty flesh mild.