Cultivar selection is key to radish production

Cultivar selection is key to radish production

Radishes are a popular vegetable, grown for their enlarged fleshy taproot. Several different types of radishes are grown commercially, including spring, summer, and winter radishes. However, the most popular type of radish in the U.S. is the spring or table radish. Spring radishes are commonly produced outdoors in fields. But there are opportunities in the greenhouse, too.

Radishes are a promising crop for controlled environments. We found that producing radishes in plug trays filled with regular soilless substrate and grown using subirrigation is an effective and efficient way to produce a high-quality radish crop inside a greenhouse. Growing radishes hydroponically in the greenhouse provides a few advantages over field production. Quality can improve through regular irrigation, reducing cracking damage that would render a radish unmarketable. Additionally, minimizing stress by managing light, air temperature, water, and fertilizer can help radishes maintain a balanced flavor. Finally, the planting density in cell trays can be much greater compared to field spacing.

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Note: This article, part one of a four-part series on hydroponic radish production, written by the team of Christopher J. Currey, Robert Muniz II, Ryan Niepegan, and Peter Konjoian. Currey is an associate professor, Muniz II is a former undergraduate research assistant, and  Niepegan is a graduate research assistant, all in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University. Konjoian is a horticultural consultant with Konjoian’s Horticulture Education Services, Inc.

Photo: A 72-cell tray of spring radishes with shoots removed to show the variation in germination, radish size or grade, and damage. Photo: Christopher J. Currey



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