NC State Extension

2018 Radish Variety Trial in Western North Carolina

Freshly harvested spring radish image

Freshly harvested spring radish

The Southeastern Extension Vegetable Workers (SEVEW) is a group of extension horticulturists, entomologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists, and soil scientists from across the Southeast who write, publish, and edit the Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook. The group comes together every summer to discuss vegetable production, share experiences, problem solve, and update the handbook. In 2017, the horticulturists decided to start a series of regional vegetable trials. The plan is to trial a different vegetable each year in as many locations as the group can handle. We hope to get industry support in the future, but this first year we needed to demonstrate that we could make it happen and that it would be a valuable investment. So we chose radishes as our first test crop. Radishes don’t get much attention, but they are a consumer favorite, especially in direct market venues such as farmers’ markets.

Joe Kemble, Extension Specialist at Auburn University, graciously purchased seed of 16 varieties. Kiki Fontenot, Extension Specialist at Louisiana State University, coordinated the project. We had trial sites in 14 locations in eight states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

These are the varieties that were included in the trials and the seed companies they were purchased from:

Variety Seed Company
Cherry Belle Stokes
Sparkler Stokes
Valentine Stokes
Easter Egg Johnny’s
Amethyst Johnny’s
Bacchus Johnny’s
Sora Johnny’s
Nero Johnny’s
Pink Beauty Johnny’s
Ping Pong Johnny’s
Stargazer Territorial
Red Head Territorial
Runder Schwarzer Territorial
Mardi Gras Burpee
Watermelon Burpee
Cook’s Custom Blend Burpee

There will be a full report coming out covering all the sites, but I just wanted to share some of the information from the western North Carolina site that my employees, Leonora Stefanile and Gwen Casebeer, managed.

Located in the southern mountains of western North Carolina, in Mills River, our trial was probably one of the last to be planted and harvested. We prepared the planting area on March 8.

Seed beds prepped for planting image

Seed beds prepped for planting

The seeds for each variety were carefully weighed out and labeled.

Weighing out seeds for the test plots image

Weighing out seeds for the test plots

The trial was planted on March 20.

Planting the radish trial by hand image

Planting the radish trial by hand

For the next month and a half, the plots were carefully tended and data were collected on emergence, insect and disease damage, and any unusual growth issues. The radishes grew quickly in the cool spring weather.

Radishes after one month of growth image

Radishes after one month of growth

By late April the radishes showed evidence of bulbing up.

Trial site at the end of April image

Trial site at the end of April

Plants bulbing up in late April image

Plants bulbing up in late April

Harvests took place on May 1, 7, 15, and 25.

Harvesting the radish trials image

Harvesting the radish trials

These were harvested from May 1 through May 7:

Cherry Belle from Stokes image

Cherry Belle from Stokes

Cherry Belle from Stokes image

Cherry Belle from Stokes

Amethyst from Johnny's image

Amethyst from Johnny’s

Amethyst from Johnny's image

Amethyst from Johnny’s

Easter Egg from Johnny's image

Easter Egg from Johnny’s

Easter Egg from Johnny's image

Easter Egg from Johnny’s

Sora from Johnny's image

Sora from Johnny’s

Sora from Johnny's image

Sora from Johnny’s

Bacchus from Johnny's image

Bacchus from Johnny’s

Pink Beauty from Johnny's image

Pink Beauty from Johnny’s

Pink Beauty from Johnny's image

Pink Beauty from Johnny’s

Red Head from Territorial image

Red Head from Territorial

Red Head from Territorial image

Red Head from Territorial

Cooks Custom Blend from Burpee image

Cooks Custom Blend from Burpee

Cooks Custom Blend from Burpee image

Cooks Custom Blend from Burpee

Sparkler from Stokes image

Sparkler from Stokes

Sparkler from Stokes image

Sparkler from Stokes

Ping Pong from Johnny's image

Ping Pong from Johnny’s

Ping Pong from Johnny's image

Ping Pong from Johnny’s

Mardi Gras from Burpee image

Mardi Gras from Burpee

Mardi Gras from Burpee image

Mardi Gras from Burpee

Mardi Gras from Burpee Image

Mardi Gras from Burpee

These later varieties were harvested from May 16 through May 25:

Nero radish

Nero from Johnny’s

Nero radish

Nero from Johnny’s

Valentine radish

Valentine from Stokes

Valentine radish

Valentine from Stokes

Stargazer radish

Stargazer from Territorial

Stargazer radish

Stargazer from Territorial

Runder Schwarzer radish

Runder Schwarzer from Territorial

Runder Schwarzer radish

Runder Schwarzer from Territorial

Watermelon radish

Watermelon from Burpee

Watermelon radish

Watermelon from Burpee

Yields: Please keep in mind that these are single plot yields from one location from one year. Clearly, some of these varieties were not well suited to early spring planting in the southern mountains of western North Carolina. They might do better in a fall planting or in another part of North Carolina. It will be interesting to see how our data compare with those of our colleagues in the other southern states.

Plots were 15 square feet
Variety Mkt Wt (lbs) Mkt Count (No.) Unmkt Wt (lbs) Unmkt Count (No.) Total Yield (lbs) Stand Count (%)
Valentine 0 0 4.1 55 4.1 85
Watermelon 0 0 7.8 42 7.8 90
Red Head 0.2 10 0.6 26 0.8 90
Easter Egg 0.6 18 0.5 33 1.1 94
Mardi Gras 0.6 6 3.1 41 3.7 85
Cook’s Custom Blend 0.7 21 0.4 21 1.1 87
Cherry Belle 0.9 33 0.3 26 1.2 95
Sora 0.9 18 0.7 26 1.6 87
Star Gazer 0.9 3 6.5 32 7.4 85
Pink Beauty 1.0 23 0.9 42 1.9 86
Ping Pong 1.0 14 0.3 5 1.3 45
Amethyst 1.8 43 0.6 29 2.4 94
Sparkler 1.9 36 1.0 32 2.9 95
Bacchus 2.1 41 0.7 22 2.8 97
Nero 4.9 23 1.5 19 6.4 90
Runder Schwarzer 5.1 14 1.0 5 6.1 95
The radish study at harvest time image

The radish study at harvest time

Written By

Photo of Jeanine Davis, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Jeanine DavisExtension Specialist, Herbs / Organics / Specialty Crops / Vegetables (828) 684-3562 jeanine_davis@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
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