Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's Spring Without Radishes?

These sweet little radishes may be called ‘Easter Egg’ radishes (Raphanus staivus), but we didn’t harvest them until several weeks after Easter. Despite the delay, however, we’ve become fans of this early radish.  The pretty variety gets its name from the delightful pink, red, scarlet, lavender and white radishes it produces in about 25 days.

Radishes are root vegetables from the Brassicaceae family, and are related to broccoli, kale and horseradish. A few quick facts:
  • Radishes grow best in cooler spring temperatures. You can start plants 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.
  • When temperatures get hotter than 75 degrees, radishes go to seed or turn pithy. In warmer climates, consider a more heat-tolerant radish such as 'White Icicle' or 'French Breakfast.'
  • This easy-to-grow vegetable tolerates many soil conditions, but you'll have better results if you plant seeds in well-amended soil.
  • Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and cover with fine potting mix or seed starting mix. Thin to about 2 to 3 inches.
  • Make sure your radishes receive 1 inch of water weekly. These plants are light feeders, so you'll only need to fertilize them at the initial planting time.
  • Radishes grow well in containers, or in garden beds between slower-growing plants like carrots. As radishes mature quickly, you might want to stagger plantings so you have a continuous supply.
Serve radishes in salads, sliced on bread with a little salt or even add them to honey for coughs. Don't forget the radish greens are also edible and healthy. In fact, they are high in vitamin C. Just another reason to love these pretty little spring vegetables.
"For heaviness of the mind . . . eat radish with salt and vinegar; 
soon the mood will be more gay."
T.O. Cockayne, Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England, 1864 

Here are more varieties of radishes to consider from North Carolina State University.


  1. Wow, I really never thought that deeply about radishes -- although I know they're fun to grow (and my husband's particularly fond of them with some salt and an ice cold beer). Lots of good info here. Thanks.

  2. Hi Helen: Radishes with some salt and an ice cold beer should like a good meal. ;) Thanks for dropping by. Teresa

  3. I didn't know all of that about radishes. Thanks for an informative post! -Jackie

  4. Ellie Mae's Cottage - So glad you found something of value. Thanks for stopping by... Happy gardening, Teresa

  5. As soon as I read this I went out and picked our radishes. Rather a pathetic turn out, but, better something than nothing.

  6. Ha, Kim and Victoria:
    Glad this little post made you appreciate your radishes a bit more. A friend gave me some seeds, but I certainly didn't plant enough this year. Definitely will next year... Thanks for stopping by. Teresa