Radish, rabanus or labaRadishnus is a very popular root crop notwithstanding its zero nutritive value. This cylindrical vegetable is crisp, pungent and has varied uses. It is not surprising therefore to see radish in the home gardens because it is also grows in matures quickly. It is usually grown as an intercrop or a companion crop with other vegetables such as cabbage or cauliflower.
(Source: Bureau of Biz Tech, Date accessed 26 March 2014)
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Soil and Climate Requirements
Local environmental conditions require radish varieties that are strongly, fibrous and varying in size. Japanese radish, Chinese radish and White Icicle varieties fulfill these requirements. These varieties can be grown in all types of soil, but a fairly light, friable, cool, moist soil is preferred. This enable the roots to fully penetrate the soil and develop normally, resulting in the smooth tubers preferred by a costumers. Many Filipino farmer plant radish during the month of January, February, April to June, and August to December. The manner of planting radish depends on the scale or number to be planted. Plots are used in backyard and beds for commercial scale planting.
Prepare the backyard or the garden lot by digging with a spade fork. Pulverize the soil, remove stones, and divide into one meter (m) wide and 15 to 20 centimeters (cm) high plots of any length. Level the plot with a rake and form shallow furrows, 25 cm apart and 2 cm deep, along the length of the plot.
For commercial planting, low the land and harrow several times to reduce the soil to a fine tilth. Make beds 1 m wide and 20 cm high. Drag a piece of bamboo salt on the top of the bed to level and smoothen the surface. Make thin shallow furrows, 25 cm apart and 2 cm deep, on the beds. Each bed contains 4 rows of plants.
For the soil to cope with the rapid growth of radish, it much be rich and fertile. Ensure this out by applying 300 to 450 kilograms (kg) per hectare of ammonium sulfite and 130 to 195 kg per hectare of urea. For small-scale radish farming, fertilizer is applied while preparing the plots and during bedding for commercial planting. Never apply manure to the soil.
A hectare requires 10 to 20 kilos (k) of seeds. Avoid overcrowding by evenly and correctly distributing the seeds in the furrows. Overcrowding causes the occurrence of misshapen roots. Seeds are sown 2.5 cm apart in rows for big varieties. After sowing, drag a piece of wood or bamboo slightly along the line of shallow furrows to cover the seeds. Start cultivating and weeding the soil as soon as weeds appear.
Plots are watered with the use of sprinkling cans or sprinkler. Daily watering will produce tender, sweet and crisp roots.
In commercial planting, irrigation water is allowed to flow between the beds to saturate the soil after which the water is drained out. This process is done on weekly basis to avoid producing pungent or the hot roots. But too much moisture must also be avoided, especially when plants have already developed big root since excessive soil moisture causes root rot.
- Plow and harrow the field lengthwise and crosswise, and leave it for seven days to allow the uprooted weeds to rot and their seeds to grow.
- Plow and harrow as before, repeat a third time but deeper.
- Make elevated beds about one-half meter away from each other.
- Put fertilizer where plants will be grown mix this with the soil by means of a rake.
- A hectare of land would accommodate about 100 grams of seeds. Apply a kerosene can of compost before planting.
- Treat the seeds first in growth regulator like "Seet Treat."
- Mix one teaspoon Orthocide 50 WP per kilo of seeds to check whatever diseases they may have.
- Prepare the planting of the seeds. To make them evenly apart, use a string attached to both ends — one at 10 cm, a second at 40 cm, etc.
- With the aid of a pointed stick, make a hole one and a half (1-½) cm deep and 10 cm apart, following the distance of the string.
- Drop two seeds in each hole and cover with fine soil. Water with fine spray so as not to dislodge the seeds or remove the top soil.
- Cover with straw about 5-10 cm thick between the rows of plants, with space of about 5 cm from the plant. Do not cover the seed especially if it has not germinated. Keep away chicken from scratching the seeds away. The straw or dried leaves serve to protect the plants from strong rain or intense heat, and from growing weeds.
- Water morning and afternoon in the first three (3) days after planting do not allow them to get dry. When the seeds germinate, water only in the morning. Ten days after all have germinated, water only in the afternoon when the ground is dry.
- Dig a canal around the plot about 30 cm wide and 40 cm deep to where the water will run in case of heavy rain.
- Before planting, mix a can of compost to every 2 sq. meters of plot. If animal manure will be used, apply this after the first plowing: one can per sq. meter. If chemical fertilizer will be used, have the soil analyzed first at the Bureau of Soils Laboratory. If not, the National Food and Agricultural Council recommends 8 bags of ammonium sulfate for every hectare of radish plants.
Get seeds only from healthy plants. Let these flower and bear seeds. Apply 2 grams ammonium sulfate, and water daily. Maintain with care until the fruits turn yellow. Select good seeds from good plants. When the pods are over mature, these will burst open. Dry the seeds in the sun to kill pests or disease. Before storing them, mix a little DDT or Orthocide 50 WP before packing. Put in a jar with fine charcoal at the bottom and over it a piece of cardboard with holes. Label jar. Seal the cover with masking tape until the next planting season.
When the soil around the plant becomes compact, loosen it especially when the roots are beginning to grow. Be careful not to hurt the roots. If in spite of putting straw or dried leaves, weeds continue to grow, remove them manually.
Pests and Diseases
To control insect pests, spray any of the following: Orthene 75 SP, SD, Tamaron 600 EC, Phosdrin 1.5 Ec, Hostathion 40 EC, or Vegetox, following instructions on the label, at an interval of 7 days. Trapping by means of light helps to control insect pests.
- A soil-borne or seed borne disease of radish attacks the new plant when the soil is very wet. As mentioned earlier, treat the seeds with orthocide or Spergon Fermate or Zerlate — one-half teaspoon per gallon water.
- The black rot disease has a V-shape on the leaves. The leaves turn yellow then fall off. There is a black ring around the body when the leaf is removed
Different varieties have different times of maturity, from 30 days from germination to 100 days after planting. Thus, it is good to know the variety to be planted, or try ten plants first. When overmature, radish is fibrous, porous and does not taste good. Pull up the crop when harvesting in early morning or late afternoon. Do not harvest when the sun is hot because it will wilt immediately. Wash, bundle and bring to market first hour in the morning. Do not pile them too high so as not bruise the crops, and to avoid heating for the crops under the pile.