Can You Eat Radish Greens: How And When To Harvest Radish Leaves
By: Amy Grant
An easy, rapid-growing crop, radishes are usually grown for their delicious, peppery root. Radishes mature anywhere from 21-30 days from seeding whereupon the root is ready for harvest, but have you ever wondered if you can eat the radish greens? If so, what can you do with radish leaves and how to harvest radish greens?
Can You Eat Radish Greens?
Yes indeed, you can eat radish greens. In fact, they are super nutritious and delicious, tasting much like their relatives, the turnip greens or mustard. So how come many of us have never tasted this culinary delight? Many varieties of radish have foliage peppered with slight hairs. When eaten, these hairs assault the tongue with an unpleasant prickly sensation. This is no doubt a defense of the plant which, after all, does not want to be eaten; it wants to continue to mature into seed pods. Seed pods that, by the way, are also edible!
There are, however, a number of radish varieties that claim to be “hairless,” apparently making them excellent choices for salad greens. I love the idea of using the entire plant and White Icicle, Shunkyo Semi-Long, Perfecto, and Red Head are all radish types that can be grown not only for the root, but also the delicious greens. Some seed catalogues that specialize in Asian veggies even have a category called leaf radish. These radishes, such as Four Season and Hybrid Pearl Leaf, are grown primarily for the foliage which is used in Korea for making kimchi.
It seems evident that there are plenty of options for the harvesting of radish leaves. The question is: “when to harvest radish leaves?”.
When to Harvest Radish Leaves
Begin harvesting radish leaves when they are young and tender and the roots are just forming. If you leave harvesting too late, the stems get tall, the roots pithy and seed pods form while the leaves become bitter and yellow.
Because they grow so quickly if you want to have a continuous supply of greens, re-seed about halfway through the maturation of the first sowing. That way, you will have another harvest ready to reap soon after the first, and so on.
How to Harvest Radish Leaves
There is no secret to harvesting radish leaves. You can snip them off at ground level or pull the entire plant. Separate the root from the greens by cutting it.
Wash the greens free of dirt and you are ready to use them. They can be tossed into salads or tucked into wraps or sautéed; only your imagination limits their use.
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Will a Radish Top Regrow?
If you’re wondering if growing radishes from radishes is possible, note that many vegetable plants can be started from vegetable-to-vegetable growing, such as when you save certain vegetable pieces and plant them. Some of the easiest to start include celery, lettuce, potatoes and radishes (Raphanus sativus), which grow best in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 10. Growing radishes from radishes or from seeds is actually quite easy. In fact, The Old Farmer’s Almanac even claims that these round red veggies are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.
It is possible to regrow a radish from its top, but this generally only works if the roots are attached, and it does not usually work as well as planting radishes from seed.
Unless you grow your microgreens indoors under the provided light, It’s very rare to see all microgreens growing firmly upright under the sun.
Most microgreens are leaning to random sides as they are stretching out following the light source. The only way for that is to provide the light source that is uniformly shined on the greens. Read here for the best lightings for microgreens. Therefore, when you’re harvesting the crops, it can be much more effective and reduce the loss.
We have to pack them dry!
Common pests and diseases: Radishes
When growing vegetables, it is always exciting to care for the plant throughout its growing phase and then harvest it for delicious recipes later on, but one thing to watch out for is pests and diseases. Different plants are susceptible to different types of pests and diseases, and it is important to make yourself aware so you can keep a watchful eye and also take any preventative methods to keep your plants safe throughout their lifespan.
Radishes can fall victim to several different pests and diseases.
Some of the most common pests attacking radishes include aphids, cutworms and cabbage loopers. Typically, the pests only affect the radish’s foliage since the radish is grown underground, but it is still very important to control any infestations. Since radish greens can also be consumed, it’s important to keep them healthy.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects that bring problems to lots of plants. They create discoloration of the leaves, necrotic spots and stunted growth. Use tolerant varieties and only apply insecticides if there’s a high infestation.
Armyworms will cause closely grouped holes in the foliage, and heavy feeding can cause leaves to become skeletonized. You may see egg clusters on the leaves. To organically control armyworms, encourage natural enemies or apply Bacillus thuringiensis.
Cabbage loopers will leave large holes in the leaves and can cause lots of damage. Eggs are typically laid i singularly. To control cabbage loopers, encourage natural enemies. You can handpick them from the plants, or apply Bacillus thuringiensis to kill the larvae. Stay away from chemical sprays which might harm natural predators.
Some common diseases affecting radishes include Alternaria blight, clubroot, downy mildew, white rust and more.
Alternaria blight will cause dark or yellow spots on leaves, stems or the flowers of the radish. The lesion’s center may dry out. This is a fungus that prefers warm, wet weather. To manage, only plant disease-free seed, treat seeds with hot water prior to planting, rotate crops and irrigate plants in the morning.
Clubroot causes slow growing or stunted plants with leaves that yellow during the day, wilt during the day and then become rejuvenated at night. To prevent this from happening, plant only disease-free seed and apply lime to the soil.
Downy mildew causes lesions on the upper surface of the leaves and a white growth on the bottom of the leaves. It favors cool, damp weather. To prevent this, remove all crop debris and rotate crops.
White rust causes white pustules on leaves, stems and flowers which grow as the infection spreads. Leaves may roll and become thick. The disease is spread by the wind. To prevent this disease, plant only disease-free seed and apply fungicides if needed.
Learning Download: Radish Comparison Chart
Growing Black Radish
Radishes are a cool vegetable that can be directly sowed into the ground. You can start planting after all danger of frost in the spring, and earlier in late summer, once the weather is cooler and the ground is dry. Unlike the red radish, the black radish takes 55 days to mature after planting. Space radish seeds two to four inches apart, since they can also grow bigger than their counterparts. Make sure to till the area well before planting, so the seeds are covered with ½ inch of fine dirt. Black radishes do need plenty of sun, so grow them in an area where they can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Also, black radishes grow best in moist soil with a pH balance of 5.9 to 6.8. Remember, it’s always a good idea to prep your soil with compost before planting to ensure healthy soil! Radishes are easy to grow and pretty hassle-free, just make sure you keep them well watered.
Spice up your garden with a black radish!
Problems With French Breakfast Radishes
Radishes grow quickly so they rarely suffer pest or disease problems. Aphids may feed on the leaves, but you can rinse them off with a sharp spray of water. Root maggots can tunnel into the developing roots, ruining the radish. If root maggots become a problem, plant in a different bed or treat the soil with an insecticide formulated for these pests. Hot weather prevents roots from forming, as does drought stress. Planting during the cool spring or fall season prevents this issue.