Radish Production

Radish, rabanus or labanus 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.

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.

Fro 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.

Source: DOST, photo courtesy of www.nre.vic.gov.au

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