Daikon, Lobok, Oriental or Chinese Radish
Raphanus sativus. Daikon is in the Longipinatus group which is a member of the Brassicaceae (mustard) family.
Varieties include Mino Spring Cross (spring cultivar), Summer Cross No. 3, Chinese White (cylindrical), Chinese Rose (round), Celestial (cylindrical), and Tokinashi (a good all season cultivar).
Oriental radishes have extremely large roots. The Sakurajima variety, one of the largest, weighs up to 50 pounds. Most are in the 1 to 2 and a half pound class at full maturity. It is quite common for the leaf spread to be more than 2 feet. The leaves differ from spring radish types by being greatly notched and spreading from the tops of roots in a rosette fashion. Some varieties form large round to top-shaped roots, while others are cylindrical in shape.
Other names. Lo pue (Hmong); daikon (Japanese); lor bark (Cantonese Chinese); labanos (Filipino); cu-cai trang (Vietnamese).
Marketing. Wholesale market prices were reported for the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets for daikon as follows (approximately 30 pound celery crates):
San Francisco, 1987 Los Angeles, 1988
January $7.50-9.00 $7.00-10.00 (from Mexico)
February-March $5.50-9.00 $7.00-16.00 (from Mexico)
April-June $7.00-8.50 $5.00-12.00 (from Mexico in April)
July $7.00-9.50 $6.00-8.00
August-September $8.00-12.00 $6.00-22.00
October-December $8.00-9.00 $7.00-10.00
Use. This type of radish is usually cooked rather than eaten fresh but it can be used raw in salads. The Japanese frequently make pickles out of radishes.
Propagation and care. Culture is similar to that for the common radish. Seeds should be planted 3/4 inch deep in the fall (September through October) so that the roots enlarge in the cool months. They should be spaced from 4-6 inches apart in rows spaced 3 feet apart. To compensate for large root size, plant on high raised beds fortified with liberal amounts of organic matter (compost). At each cultivation work the soil around the root higher and higher as it grows. Most reach best useable size in 60 to 70 days.
Harvest and postharvest practices. USDA storage recommendations are 32° to 34°F (0° to 1°C) at 95 to 100 percent relative humidity, with an approximate storage life of 4 months.
Johnny's Selected Seeds, Foss Hill Rd., Albion, Maine 04910.
Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 North Pacific Hwy, Albany, OR 97321.
Park Seed Co., Cokesbury Road, Greenwood, SC 29647-0001.
Seeds Blum, Idaho City Stage, Boise, ID 83706.
Shepherd's Garden Seeds, Shipping Office, 30 Irene Street, Torrington, Conn. 06790.
Sunrise Enterprises, P. O. Box 10058, Elmwood, Conn.. 06110-0058.
Tsang and Ma, P.O. Box 5644, Redwood City, CA 94063.
W. Atlee Burpee & Company, 300 Park Avenue, Warmister, PA 18974.
Shephens, James. Minor Vegetables. Univ. of Florida Cooperative Extension Bulletin SP-40. June 1988, 123 pp.
Forsythe, Adrian. "Of Radishes and Kings." Harrowsmith, May/June 1987, 90-93 pp.
Yamaguchi, Mas. World Vegetables. AVI Publishing Company, Inc. Westport, Conn. 1983. 415 pp.
Harrington, G. Grow Your Own Chinese Vegetables, (Bk 32). 117-122 pp.
Federal-State Market News Service. San Francisco Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market Prices 1987.
Federal-State Market News Service. Los Angeles Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market Prices 1988.
Tropical Products Transport Handbook. USDA Agric. Handbook 668. 1987.
Compiled by Claudia Myers, UC Small Farm Center.
Reviewed by Keith Mayberry, Farm Advisor, Imperial County.
Reviewed by Mas Yamaguchi, 11/16/89.
Reviewed by Cecil Bonzo, 12/21/89.
Figure 1. Daikon packed for the L.A. wholesale market. The roots are 6 to 20 inches long. (Photo by Hunter Johnson).
Figure 2. The oriental radish at the L.A. wholesale market. (Photo by Hunter Johnson).