Radishes in the garden bring you a lot of benefits – with probably the simplest care imaginable for an edible plant. The main thing is that it is not sown too early, because then it can shoot. Details later in the text. It’s also healthy and tasty – so if you don’t have a radish in your garden yet, it’s really about time. That’s how easy it is to grow black or white radishes, and that’s how these radishes differ.

Differences: white and black radish

Many people are familiar with white radishes, radiantly shiny rings that wait on the beer garden table, sprinkled with salt, next to the effervescent beer mug. But what is black radish? Well, black radish is exactly the radish that curls up so beautifully on the beer garden table. Here you will very often find a certain type of black radish, which is very appropriately called “Münchner Bier”, and this forms a white beet skin, although it belongs to the black radishes.

Finally everything unclear? Then it’s probably time for a little radish customer:

Radish – classification, origin and varieties

Botanically, radishes are called Raphanus, which comes from the Latin radix = root. The Raphanus belong to the cruciferous family, from which many important cultivated plants come – all types of cabbage, the oil supplier rapeseed, turnips, mustard, horseradish and cress are e.g. B. Cruciferous vegetables. Radishes form their own genus within this family, which is divided into three types by most biologists:

  • Wild radish : Also known as wild radish, it cannot be used as such because it does not form a thickened root. However, the field radish can be used excellently as a pointer plant and as green manure. Mustard and oil can be made from the seeds. A few years ago, researchers found that its wild radish leaves were probably anti-diabetic and almost certainly mood-enhancing. This is probably why the leaves are an indispensable part of the traditional local diet in various Mediterranean countries. Here the wild radish has its natural home.
  • The next species is the Raphanus confusus, the ” tangled radish “. It’s exciting because there isn’t much to learn about it. Except that two Swiss botanists gave it this enigmatic name.
  • The third species is our garden radish , Raphanus sativus. It is in turn divided into three subspecies and four groups, all of which are edible
    • Rat -Tailed Radish, Raphanus sativus var. mougri or “Rat-Tailed Radish” group: Comes from Asia, also known as snake radish or mougri, one eats the pods and the leaves.
    • Fodder radish, Raphanus sativus var. oleiformis : Was already cultivated in ancient Egypt for oil production, and for soil care (loosening, nematode scavengers) it is still good today.
    • The third subspecies is that of the ( edible ) radish , Raphanus sativus var. sativus, or “radish group”, and this is the group to which white and black radishes belong.

radish group

Within this third subspecies, the radish group, breeders have had a lot of fun in the past. So much fun that they’ve grown summer radishes and winter radishes and within them about 100 different varieties.

For this reason, the radish group is further differentiated into the summer radishes or the “Small Radish Group”, which is sometimes called “Raphanus sativus subsp. sativus” and sometimes “Raphanus sativus convar. called sativus. These summer radishes include the icicle radish, a wide variety of tuber radishes that can be sown in spring and harvested in summer, radishes and many other varieties.

The second group in the “Radish Group” are the “actual radishes”. They are sometimes delimited botanically by the designation “Raphanus sativus subsp. niger” off. Sometimes, however, they are also called “Raphanus sativus convar. sativus” awarded. According to plant science, only the winter radishes belong to this group, so to speak, the “radish group” in the narrower sense. For example our black radish, but also the white beer radish and the Asian daikon.

The best thing about it: The international trade names and the translations for them are mixed up. As a “white radish” you could e.g. For example, an icicle radish will sell just as well as a black winter radish. And the best way to see the exact botanical names is in a garden center that specializes in radishes. That’s why it’s best to just go with practicality when choosing your radish.

Summer radish or winter radish?

It doesn’t really matter to you which “nickname” your radish has exactly. What is important for you is the fundamental difference between summer and winter radishes. It is this that affects the cultivation and the taste.

Summer radish is juicier, can develop a spherical or spindle-shaped root, is presented with white and tinted (red) rather thin skin or peel and has a more or less burning-spicy taste, depending on the mustard essential oil content.

Black radish or winter radish has a really thick skin. It must be thoroughly removed before consumption. And very firm flesh, which makes it easy to store. It also usually contains a good portion of mustard oils, which make it more or less spicy. An exception among the winter radishes is the Asian radish, among which the Daikon radish is best known to us. This giant radish is much milder than our western radish species. From the daikon you can also purchase seeds for growing sprouts, which are eaten with salads and sushi.

The original radish species were mostly native to the Mediterranean region, sometimes also in northern Africa, Europe and the Near East as far as Pakistan, but actually all types of field radish and garden radish are grown almost all over the world today. With different root shapes from thin to fleshy and with different sizes and colors of the beet, from small and round to large and elongated, from red to pink, white, purple or black. These varieties can be annuals or biennials and are better eaten raw or better cooked.

How to find your radish

Because there are so many varieties, it is advisable to buy from a dealer who knows exactly what is going on or who offers you a wide range of options on the Internet. such as B. the seed house Müller from 75210 Keltern, where you can select your seeds by ticking: sowing (between February and November), life cycle (here only annual), harvest time (between January and December), location (sun to shade, greenhouse) and color (many).

Sowing and cultivation of the radish

Once you’ve figured out which radish you actually want to grow, you’ve actually covered the tricky part.

Depending on the variety, the radish is sown at the time recommended on the seed packet. In a loose soil, in the sun or in partial shade. A mixture of sandy soil and compost would be ideal. The roots can develop best in such soil, but radishes actually grow in any soil. You place the seeds in a narrow furrow about 20 cm apart in the soil. Varieties with long roots two centimeters deep in the ground, round varieties such as radishes or similar can be scattered on the surface and sprinkled with some soil. You should then water the seed abundantly. It is best to use a watering can with a large spout so that you don’t wash away the seeds.

Then all you really have to do is water your radish regularly and fairly vigorously. After three to four days you can see the first seedlings. If these are a few centimeters high, you can thin them out. With the rounded varieties, a plant should be left every 4 cm. White winter radish needs 15 cm per plant, black winter radish better 20 cm. If the soil has received some compost before sowing, fertilizer is no longer necessary. Since the radish grows incredibly fast, you don’t have to pay attention to watering for very long. You can harvest as early as four weeks after sowing.

Because it is virtually impossible for radishes and radishes not to thrive, these are the dream plants for inexperienced gardeners and for impatient children who prefer to see quick results.

If you want, you can do a little more work and grow very early radishes, which are then grown under a polytunnel. This early radish is sown in February and can be harvested from March. It also works very late in the year. Sow in October, cover with foil, harvest from November.

The harvest

When you can harvest, the seed bag also tells you if it was lost, your eye and your mouth. The classic summer radish is harvested from the end of May. The classic black radish harvested from October. It can be stored well throughout the winter. Then you should wrap the radish in newspaper in air-permeable boxes and put in a cool room. By the way, when the radish is ready to be harvested, you should get it out of the ground as soon as possible. The individual roots will eventually become hollow in the earth.

pests and diseases

In this respect, too, the radish is easy to care for. Since it grows so quickly, neither pests nor diseases can establish themselves. Only a few snails will occasionally bite your radish. The best thing to do is to wish them bon appetit and sow new radishes elsewhere – by the time you’ve done something with some kind of pest control, the radish in the next bed is already ready to harvest.

constituents of the radish

Radish is healthy, it contains vitamin C and minerals and some interesting secondary plant substances, which is why radish juice is also an insider tip for liver and gallbladder problems and coughs. It is also known that the mustard oils it contains stimulate digestion and help against infections. In addition, radishes are very low in calories, weighing just 16 calories.

How do you eat the radish?

Summer radish and many types of winter radish are best eaten raw so that the spiciness brought about by the mustard oils really comes into its own. If you’ve watered your radish a little sparingly and it’s gotten really scorching hot, just put a little salt on the slices and let it “cry” and it’ll soften up. You can simply put the radish on a sandwich, grate it finely and dress it up as a salad, or simply cut it into slices, salt it and eat it.

You can also stew both radishes very well like a cucumber vegetable, or add them to a soup, and the black radish is said to make a homemade tartar sauce wonderfully piquant.

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