Since we are in the Fall Planting Time, you can now plant the larger winter storage types as well as the small spring/summer salad types. Radishes are one of the most fun plants because they come in a great variety of shapes lengths, colors, and sizes, and tastes!
Have you ever tried this Daikon relative, an heirloom called Chinese Red Meat, Beauty Heart, and Rose Heart. This is one of the most mild radishes with just a slight peppery bite, along with some sweetness and a lot of crunch! …says Catie Baumer Schwalb. Look at this beauty – also called Watermelon Radish!
Spring – Summer Varieties: Small and fast-growing – usually ready for harvest in 3 to 4 weeks. Select varieties based on size and shape (globe or cylindrical), color (including red, purple, white and combinations) and bolt-resistance. Summer: take slightly longer to mature — usually in about 6 to 8 weeks. When it gets 65 degrees or higher, stop sowing because radishes don’t tolerate heat well and will rapidly go to seed. Take up planting again in late summer; plant winter varieties as well as spring varieties. Longer varieties, like French Breakfast, take a little longer to grow. The longer varieties, and winter varieties tolerate heat better than the short, round ones.
- Cherry Belle is the supermarket bright red-skinned round variety with a white interior.
- French Breakfast is an elongated red-skinned radish with a white splash at the root end. It is typically slightly milder than other summer varieties, but is among the quickest to turn pithy.
- Easter Egg is not an actual variety, but a mix of varieties with different skin colors – white, pink, red, purple! They mature at different times!
Fall-Winter Varieties: Grow more slowly (usually 2 months or more to maturity), produce larger roots (usually cylindrical – like carrots), and hold their quality much longer than common varieties. They are also known as Oriental, Daikon, Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish radishes. Most are biennials that do not bolt as readily in response to long days, and only develop seedstalks after exposure to cold temperatures. The April Cross is a giant white radish hybrid that bolts very slowly. They are usually planted in summer for fall harvest – our SoCal fall, Sep, is fine! Larger winter varieties need more space than spring varieties, so thin, or make your seed strip, to about 6-inch spacings, depending on variety.
To make you completely crazy and terrifically happy, here is the Cornell list of 136 varieties! Note the star ratings! Remember, Cornell is in NY, but hey, a radish is a radish, right?!
Direct-sow radish seeds where they are to grow. They don’t transplant well, and, well, heck, they grow so fast, why move them?! And ’cause they grow so fast, be sure to plant every week or two for a steady supply. Research shows the depth you plant your seeds affects the size of the root! Plant small radishes just under a 1/2″ deep, larger guys 1.6″ deep. Did I really say 1.6?! Yes, but guesstimate your best! 🙂
Plant only what you can eat. If you leave them in the ground they do get bigger, but they also get dry, very HOT, and woody. Harvest when they are mature whether you need them immediately or not, and cut off the leaves. Put them in plastic storage bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator; eat within 1 to 2 weeks.
Superlative companions! Wise gardeners know there’s no need to devote whole sections of the garden to radishes. Pop them in as fillers between, on the sunny side of, larger plants, or in the same row with carrots, parsley, parsnips and other slower germinating and growing crops. The radishes help to break soil crust for the weaker and later-germinating crops. In fact, in no-till farming they are used to help reverse compaction! Think radishes now, broccoli later!
Their favorite soil is well-drained, loose easy to grow in, high in organic matter, free from stones, with pH 5.8 to 6.8. Unless your soil is poor, lay back on fertilizer or you will have lush tops and small roots. Radish seed strips are wonderful! But if you sow by hand, when the little guys are up about 2″, thin to three-inch spacings. If not thinned, you’re likely to end up with shriveled, inedible roots. No fun at all. They can tolerate a bit of frost.
They need plentiful, consistent moisture. Summer mulching helps. Mulching with compost enriched with wood ash repels root maggots. If the soil is too dry, radishes bolt, are woody, and too pungent to eat. If too wet, they split and rot.
Radishes are another kind of Brassica! They are in the same family as your brocs, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and turnips, and the other hotties, mustard, horseradish and wasabi! Like most Brassicas, the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. Radish also can be eaten as a sprout!
Saved radish seeds are edible, and are sometimes used as a crunchy, spicy addition to salads. Some varieties are grown specifically for their seeds or seed pods, rather than their roots, like the Rat-tailed radish, an old European variety thought to have come from East Asia centuries ago. Let one of your very best/favorite plants grow, stalk, flower, and make its seed pods. Seed remains viable up to 4 years!
The Burpee Seed site says: Radishes are more versatile in the kitchen than many gardeners realize. Besides adding crisp radishes to salads, try them sliced into stir-fries, stews, and soups. Marinate sliced radishes in vinegar, honey, and soy sauce to serve in a number of Chinese dishes. Sauté them in butter for a minute, and then serve with salt, pepper, and herbs (especially chervil) for a different and unusual side dish. Long radishes are particularly good for sautéing. Slice them diagonally to obtain larger pieces and cook quickly to retain crispiness. Grate radishes into your favorite slaws, or dice them for egg and potato salads. Winter radishes can even be pickled [lacto fermented]!
You must see Kari’s Kitchen amazing Black Radish Chips recipe!
THE plant for kids’ gardens. Radishes can sprout in 3 days, and practically grow right in front of your eyes! 3 to 6 weeks and they are on the table!