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Daikon (which literally means ‘big root’) or white radish is an increasingly popular plant that is not difficult to grow and it is even easier to store. In addition to conventional growing, Daikon can also be grown as microgreens.
As we said earlier, it is not hard to grow Daikon. For daikon growing, the same conditions apply as for all other cabbage plants. Do not sow it in the same place for three to four years. It is sown in rows (like carrots), immediately in a permanent place because it does not tolerate transplanting. To find out more continue reading our article.
Table of contents:
- Generally about Daikon
- Sowing/planting daikon
- Daikon growing
- Daikon harvesting and storage
- How to grow daikon microgreens
- Using Daikon
- Interesting facts about daikon
Generally about Daikon
Daikon or white radish is a herbaceous plant that is planted and grown because of an elongated, slightly cylindrical, white, or creamy tuber also called napiform root. Its taste is neutral so it is often combined with other dishes and consumed for the same reason as other vegetables because of the many nutrients it possesses.
Daikon or Latin Raphanus sativus longipinnatus is an annual herb belonging to the cabbage family.
Daikon consists of roots (edible tubers) and leaves. Daikon root is white in color, resembles a carrot, but has a smoother texture. It grows shallowly in the ground, and for the most part, springs from the ground. Daikon leaves grow along with the rosette, they are hairy and grow larger towards the top. The flower of the plant grows on long stems that stand upright on the plant. All the flowers on the stem are arranged in clustered flowers. There are several brown seeds in the fruit.
Daikon is also referred to as the Japanese long white radish and is naturally found throughout the East Asian region. There are different types of daikon cultivars, and the most commonly grown in Japan is a cultivar whose root is 14 inches long, elongated, and only 2 to 4 inches wide.
Due to the increasing popularity, it is increasingly grown in private gardens.
Try growing daikon and enjoy its healthy fruits all year long. Daikon is easy to store, but also to ferment, so you can easily consume it later.
Before you plant it, the soil must be clear and all branches and stones that could prevent its smooth growth must be removed from it.
For daikon planting, the same conditions apply as for all other cabbage plants. Do not sow it in the same place for three to four years. It is sown in rows (like carrots), immediately in a permanent place because it does not tolerate transplanting.
The distance between the beds should be the same as for radish, as it develops a large leaf part. Seeds are sown 0.6 inches deep, every two weeks at a distance of 25 inches between rows.
Weather and climate
Daikon is immediately sown in the soil on pre-planned flower beds, from the end of June until August (depends on the area where it is sown). Because it loves cooler weather, you can sow it in the late summer, so you’ll have your first fruits before the frost. In warmer climates, it thrives and is sown in early spring. In any case, premature sowing and high heat can only produce flowers without fruit.
It likes some shady or slightly sunny places. Do not plant it directly in the sun.
It will succeed best in fertile soils rich in humus. Plant it in medium-heavy, slightly sandy, neutral to slightly alkaline soil (ph from 5.8 to 6.8).
Daikon will need sufficient water to grow, otherwise, the tuber may be spongy and of poor quality. However, be careful not to overdo it, as in this case, it could rot.
It is grown solely as a post-harvest culture. If you sow it early, it will not form a root, but will immediately bloom and grow into a flowering tree. It will take about 60 days to reach full maturity.
When growing daikon, the quality of the land used for sowing and later daikon growth should be taken into account. Namely, since it cleanses the body of poisons, it also cleanses the earth of radioactive substances, heavy metals, and other harmful effects. In case you want to consume it, never sow it in such a soil as its fruits will be harmful to use.
If you want to test the quality of the soil, plant daikon. If it grows fruits full of dark spots it means that the soil is not safe for growing fruits and vegetables, that is, it is full of poisons.
The soil around daikon should be regularly cleared of weeds and weed out. It is recommended to pour compost tea several times during the growing season.
Do not use heavy fertilizers rich in nitrogen, as it may then cause the plant to develop lush leaves and poor quality vegetables.
Daikon harvesting and storage
Daikon is ready for consumption in October and November when you can harvest it as needed. Since it can withstand winter and temperatures up to 23 °F, leave it in the soil for as long as possible to maintain its healing properties and harvest as needed.
In dry and dark places, in the basement, it can be stored for up to half a year.
How to grow daikon microgreens
If you are a beginner in growing microgreens, daikon is a great choice! You need to get good quality seed for growing, the substrate, and the pots in which you will sow it. Organic seeds and organic soil are recommended because you will still be consuming these small plants later. As for the choice of containers, the plastic ones you have from used ice cream or cake will also be good.
Fill the plastic containers with the substrate to be sprayed with a little water and press gently. Put daikon seeds in it so that the amount takes up 70 percent of the surface of the pan. When sprouting, the plants need to grow side by side, so they need to be sown as thickly as possible. In this case, you will not have to worry about plants growing when planted. However, avoid planting too tightly, as in this case, you risk the appearance of mold and uneven sprouting of daikon.
After arranging the seeds in the pots, place the same one without the holes below each in which you previously drilled the holes.
Water the seeds after sowing with a sprayer. It is necessary to gently water the plant and take care not to overdo it. For it to have the best reception, after sowing, cover the pan with foil and a plate or lid. It is important to place some heavy object on it so that the seeds can sprout as evenly as possible.
For the next four days, keep the seeds covered at a temperature of about 77 °F.
When you notice that the plants have sprouted, remove the cover and move them to the light which they need to grow and get a nice green color. It is recommended to keep them at slightly lower temperatures than during germination and provide them with 12 hours of light and just as much darkness.
After about a week, the daikon will be ready to be harvested. When you see the right leaves, take a knife or scissors and cut the plants along the substrate itself.
Daikon microgreens can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, and wash the plants only before consumption.
Daikon is full of enzymes that can stimulate digestion, expel toxins from the body and break down fat. Therefore, it is most commonly used for the purpose of body cleansing and detoxification.
It contains vitamin C, iron and potassium. It boasts a low-calorie value, there are only 18 calories per 100 grams.
Its consumption will stimulate bile and kidney function. If you are struggling with excess weight and have a problem with cellulite, try to consume daikon regularly, which, while adhering to other healthy living conditions in terms of healthy eating and regular physical activity, will bring you to your goal as soon as possible.
Because the leaves of the plant are medicinal, they are used for baths because they cleanse the body of poisons and stimulate metabolism. Baths are recommended for all women’s problems, ie diseases of the uterus and ovaries, for pain during PMS and during menstruation, and for inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract. Freshly grated daikon is also used as a cover. Just grate it and place it in the place of pain.
Daikon in the kitchen
Daikon has an aromatic and slightly spicy taste, similar to radish. Thermal processing loses its aromaticity and becomes similar to turnips. You can consume it raw or cooked. Usually added to soups, stews, and cereals, it can be stewed, added to a bean stew, or pickled.
It is best consumed raw or added to the dish after cooking to retain all its medicinal properties. To reduce the weight of fatty foods, serve them with daikon salad. Just grate it and pour a few drops of lemon juice over it and it is ready to be consumed.
It is most commonly consumed in Japan as part of traditional Japanese cuisine where it is eaten with sushi and sashimi sliced thin and unspiced. Macrobiotics also use young leaves to eat, while it is not recommended to consume the leaves of older plants as they become tough and hard.
Interesting facts about daikon
Daikon is a great indicator of the quality of the soil. Namely, since its root can extract impurities and heavy metals from the soil, if the daikon receives black spots, it is not for use. Throw it away, and before replanting, work on the quality of the soil and its cleaning of metals and pesticides.
It is widespread all over East Asia and is grown a lot in Japan, where it is called – the Japanese white radish. In Japan, a special daikon cultivar is also known. Of the many species, there is the most famous variety whose root extends up to 14 inches into the ground, while its width is only 2 to 4 inches.
Image source: Flickr/Dom Pates