Is Growing Radishes Really So Easy?

french breakfast radishRadishes have been given the reputation of being one of the easiest veggies to grow, but this is not true for every gardener.

Because they are quick to sprout, they are wonderful when used to mark your rows—especially for crops that seem to take forever to come up, like carrots and parsnips. This may be why they are so well-liked. But many gardeners, including us, have had trouble growing those small red globe varieties. Even when the seedlings are thinned, not all produce a radish. And if  they’re left in the ground too long, they can split and ever get a very harsh peppery taste.

If you have been successful, kudos! If you are like us and others, we have a suggestion. Try a larger variety, like the ‘French Breakfast’ pictured. These do wonderfully well for us here in the Northeast. Planted at two-week intervals, they keep us happily, and stress free, supplied.

Since we like to grow a variety, we also plant a daikon variety. Usually a white radish, but also found in other colors, they are planted here in late summer for a fall crop. Our particular favorite is ‘Miyashige White’, wonderful both in stir-fry and Indian dishes.
Two new varieties we are trying this year are ‘Green Meat’, a neat-looking white-tipped larger radish that will also be planted later in the fall, and ‘Chinese Green Luobo’, another variety for the fall.

A recommendation from a respected acquaintance is the red ‘German Giant’. This is an heirloom radish originally from Germany, as the name implies, and it’s very popular still on Amish farms. It doesn’t get bitter as some radishes do when they get big.

We really enjoy trying a lot of varieties, especially new ones. And not to ever cry “Uncle,” we are also going to plant some globe-type  radishes again. This year it will be a blend called ‘Easter Egg’, which produces red, white, pink, purple and bi-colored roots. Who knows—maybe this spring we’ll get lucky.

Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania-based master gardener. Read her other Horticulture posts here and learn more at gardeningjones.com/.
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Get a special bundle of seed packs, including ‘Easter Egg’ radishes, in the Children’s Garden Collection from Renee’s Garden Seeds.

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