Radishes are one of the absolute easiest of vegetables to grow. The bonus that they come up very quickly and you harvest them after a few short weeks is instant gratification, and I promise you that you’ll love the home-grown version so much more than the store-bought. Mr. Wonderful didn’t think he liked radishes until he tried our home grown ones.
Radishes, Raphanus sativus, belong to the Brassicaceae, or mustard family. Makes sense since their peppery tops are reminiscent of mustard greens right?
If you don’t know what Brassicas are, think kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
There are all different kinds of radishes like Easter Egg, Watermelon and others, but my very favorite and the easiest to grow for me has been French Breakfast Radishes. The seeds I use are from Botanical Interests. I absolutely love their seeds and can get them locally at my favorite nursery.
The part we eat is actually grown primarily under the ground, so you’re actually eating the root of the plant. Also, radishes are full of Vitamin C and plenty of other nutrients…so finding different ways to eat them is good for you! (See my Sauteed Radishes with Bacon recipe here.) The tops are actually great too – shred them into salads for a added peppery zip, or saute them like any other green like kale or spinach.
Now, onto growing radishes!
Radishes usually prefer cool weather, although there are summer varieties. I’ve never ventured into those due to our extreme heat here in Oklahoma, but if you live in a cooler climate, you can try French Breakfast, the cool looking white Icicle or the Scarlet King.
Wait until all danger of frost is over in your area, although I’ve had these things live through one! Make sure you plant in an area that gets at least 5-6 hours of sunlight per day.
Till your ground up so it’s not all compact. Radishes prefer cool and loose soil. I take the back of my garden trowel and poke a very shallow hole, about 1/2 inch deep and about 1 inch apart. You can plant A LOT of radishes if you take some time and drop a seed or two in each hole instead of just sprinkling them in a line. I like to sow a different line each weekend throughout spring and fall so that I don’t have 9 million coming to harvest all at once. It literally takes 2 minutes to plant a row.
Water them every few days as the quick-growing roots of the radish require plenty of water to keep them going. You won’t believe how quick they pop up- their tiny green leaves sprout above the ground sometimes in as little as 2-3 days, but may take up to a week.
You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when the “shoulders” of them poke up above the ground about 1/2 inch.
If you wash them before you store them, make sure to thoroughly dry them to avoid them rotting in the refrigerator.
Try slicing them into salads or onto sandwiches. Butter some crusty bread and top with slices and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Try them sliced into matchsticks in one of my Poke Bowl Recipes or in a Vermicelli Bowl.
Let me know if you have a great radish recipe…I’d love to hear more things to do with them!