If you are a new gardener that is looking for a vegetable that is easy to grow, easy to store, can be harvested year-round, is packed with nutrients and vitamins, and can be cooked in many different ways, look no further. If you haven’t grown this radish before, you’re in for a real treat!

In this post, we’ll show you how to grow daikon in your garden —from seed to harvest— in no time.

What is Daikon Radish?

The Daikon radish, Raphanus sativus, is a member of the family Brassicaceae. It is a root vegetable that originates from eastern Asia, and the name daikon in Japanese means big root. It is known for having pale white, bright yellow, or pink flesh and aromatic essence.

The daikon radish plants are cultivated for their thick, hollow, fleshy taproot, used for pickling, seasoning, and cooking.

Daikon can be confused with other root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips because they all have similarly shaped, white flesh roots. The Daikon radish can reach a height between 8 and 32 inches and has a thick, primarily oblong white taproot that grows to 3 to 10 inches.

Daikon is grown for its long roots, with an intense pungent flavor. It is also called Chinese radish, oriental radish, winter radish, white radish, Japanese radish, and mooli. 

daikon radish ready to harvest

Why should you grow Daikon radish in your garden?

Daikon is a fast-growing, cool-season crop that can be planted from seed and harvested at any time throughout the year. This root vegetable can be cultivated in almost any area of the United States.

It’s a delicious and healthy radish that can be used in many different ways. According to Dr.Axe, daikon radish has many benefits, such as promoting weight loss, and it is trendy in a keto diet. It’s also high in vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, folate, and copper.

Daikon is also high in antioxidants that help fight off chronic diseases and free radicals. Because it’s low in calories, it’s a good option for people who want to eat healthily but don’t want to worry about eating too many calories. It’s high in fiber, which makes it an excellent choice for people who are regulating their sugar levels.

Daikon doesn’t require much maintenance once established and is the best solution veggie for soil types with high clay content.

daikon radish dinner

How to grow

Daikon is an excellent root vegetable to grow in your garden as it is hardy, with almost no maintenance, and thrives in a wide range of temperatures. This root vegetable can be planted in containers, raised beds, pots, or directly in the ground. 


You can grow daikon in almost any type of soil, and it will improve the quality of the ground. If you are looking for something that will break your clay without digging with a shovel, this is the root vegetable that will bio-drill for you.


Daikon is the perfect cover crop. It will help your garden with better water infiltration, suppress weeds, repeals pests, and store nitrogen, so it is good to leave some of these in the ground to rot and return minerals and nutrients to the soil.

When to plant?

Daikon radishes are commonly known as winter radishes, but they can be grown as a spring crop too. They love to be developed in cool soil and do not tolerate heat, which reduces their size.

I like to plant them in spring when the soil temperature becomes workable because, during the summer, they will attract flea beetles and keep them away from my other cruciferous vegetables.

The perfect time for the best yield is planting them in late summer or early fall, around two months before the first frost in your area. They will also develop in the regions that get four hours of sun or more each day, so if you live in a warm area, you can plant them under other tall vegetables like corn. In moderate climate areas like California, you can breed radish all year round.

daikon radish germinated seedlings

Sow seeds

Daikon radish can be direct-seeded into the ground or started indoors for transplanting. You can start seeding in starter peat pots or other shallow containers to minimize root disturbance when transplanting. After germination, when your seedlings are around 4 inches tall, you can transplant them outside.

When direct seeding outside, place one or two seeds at 1 inch deep, allow 4 to 8 inches between plants, and 10 to 12 inches between rows. It is essential to thin them at one plant per spot and water them thoroughly after replanting.

If you grow them in containers or pots, ensure that they are at least 10 inches in depth. Before filling the pots with soil, it will be good to place some dry mulch like coconut coir or wood chips on the bottom to keep the soil moisture.

Soil and watering

Daikon radishes can be grown in any soil as long as it is well-drained and fertile. The ground can be slightly acidic with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8.

If you live where summers are hot, add mulch, like hay, around plants to keep ground moisture. They do best in cooler areas, but they can be grown in warmer climates.

Daikon requires moderate amounts of water but benefits from consistent moisture and will advance best when the soil is moist but not wet. It doesn’t like soggy soil. It would be best to water them every 2 or 3 days but not excessively.

young daikon radish in garden

Fertilizing

Daikon radish does not need fertilizing and will advance well on its own if you have healthy soil. However, when the plants are young, and the foliage evolves, some fertilizing is recommended.

A fertilizer like fish emulsion, composted poultry manure, or composted cow manure is all excellent choices for growing organic daikon radishes. Adding a small amount of fish emulsion, compost, or cow manure to the soil prior to planting will improve yields and help to protect against soil-borne diseases.

You can also make your fertilizer by adding compost or composted manure to your soil. Leaves are also edible and delicious, and if you grow them for the greens as well, you can give them nutrients from a blood meal.

Propagation

Daikon will start to bolt in hot and sunny weather if the soil is warm and dry enough.

To prevent bolting keep the soil moisture and provide them some shade. When the flowers appear, the plant will send the energy into the flowers, stopping roots from growing further and having some bitter and different flavors.

Under small withe flowers from stem will start to grow green seed pods. While the pods are young, they are edible and have an exciting flavor.

To collect seeds, you need to wait for seed pods to mature. They need to become dry and crispy to have a good and healthy source for future daikon growth. The seeds are 2 to 5 millimeters in size and should be brown in color.

daikon radish flowers bolting seed pods

When to harvest?

When planted from seed, daikon radish will reach maturity in 50 to 70 days. That varies with variety, climate, and time of the year when it is planted.
If you planted them in spring, you can start harvesting them in 7 weeks or when the taproots are 8 inches long. But if you begin your plants in late summer or fall, start gathering 10 weeks after seeding.
If you leave radish in the ground long enough to overmature, the flavor will become pithy with an intensified pungent flavor. Avoid picking roots when they become slightly orange or dark yellow and soft, as they have become over-ripened and will not be suitable for storing and cooking. You can leave them in the ground to rot and return the minerals or use them in your compost.
Don’t just pull them out from the soil; grab the taproot where it meets the ground and twist it before pulling; that will prevent breaking and give you a nice beautiful crop.

matured daikon radish plant

Companion plants

Companion plants for daikon radishes can include various plants, and the list could be too long for this article.

Peas, beans, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, and leeks are among the most popular companions. They are growing well together in a variety of different ways.

But the best companions are summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and taller varieties of beans. They will provide shade and won’t fight and nutrients. But keep in mind that summer cultures are thirsty, so you will have to water them more often, and it can be harder to keep the soil constantly moist.

You’ll want to avoid planting daikon radish next to the brassica family members like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. Radishes are known to attract flea beetles, and if you plant them together, these crops will suffer from these annoying pests.

Common problems

The most common problems when growing daikon is:

  • weak seedlings – support them with small hills of soil to encourage growth
  • poor foliage growth – happens when the ground is low on nitrogen
  • small taproots – the plants are overcrowded, or too much nitrogen in the soil

Pests and insects like flea beetles, whiteflies, cabbage maggots, and mustard sawflies can attack your plant.

Growing problems and diseases are primarily fungal in nature. Some fungal infections that affect daikon radishes include Black root rot, clubroot, and septoria leaf spot.

daikon radish leaves foliage

Conclusion

In conclusion, you should try growing this incredible radish variant in your garden.

Daikon is a variety of radish with a white taproot. It is one of the few crops grown in the ground without any soil amendments and can tolerate frost and cold temperatures. In fact, daikon can even be harvested during winter.

It’s an excellent radish for the gardening experience, and it’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Daikon is also a great source of potassium and vitamin C. It can be used in salads, soups, stir-fries, as a crunchy snack, and it can even be pickled.

The daikon radish is native to Asia, where it grows in moist soil. In the United States, it is commonly grown in gardens and in-home vegetable plots.

Frequently asked questions

How do you care for daikon?

Daikon radishes require minimal care when grown in well-drained, sandy, and organic matter-rich soil. They are relatively disease-free and easy to grow. In fact, the plant itself is so hardy that it can withstand freezing temperatures during winter without any ill effects. However, to ensure healthy growing soil needs to be constantly moist but not soggy. Accumulated water around plants can cause the development of fungal diseases that can cause the root to rot.

Can you transplant daikon radish?

re usually transplanted when they are just over 3 to 4 inches tall. They can be planted directly into the ground when thinned at this size. Older radishes will be more stressed, which can result in slower growth. After replanting daikon in a new growing spot, make sure to water them well, which will help the seedlings get established. 

Will deer eat daikon radish?

The taste and smell of daikon radishes can repel deer from the crop, but they will still eat them, especially in winter when daikon is one of the last crops you still have outside. The fact that they are known to eat some vegetables doesn’t mean that they won’t eat others. Deer can eat just about anything. It doesn’t matter what is growing in your garden, and it’s a good idea to keep it safe and out of reach.

Sources

UF/IFAS University of Florida

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/HS/HS137000.pdf

eOrganic

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Raymond-Weil/publication/233861668_Radishes_-_A_New_Cover_Crop_for_Organic_Farming_Systems/links/57f2ccd508ae91deaa58ffe9/Radishes-A-New-Cover-Crop-for-Organic-Farming-Systems.pdf