Radishes are under-utilized in our diet. Radishes are good source of vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, iron, magnesium, copper and calcium. They are also full of anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, electrolytes and dietary fiber. Radishes can be grown year-round; just select the right variety for the season. There are over 200 varieties of radish, so pick and choose to your heart’s content! Eat the root and the tops raw or cooked but avoid peeling the root; it is where the nutrients reside. Their crisp, clean, peppery flavor lends itself well to a variety of preparations. Just recently I sauteed them in butter–You’ve got to try it!
At the end of January; directly sow seeds in succession (enough for one week’s harvest plus a little more as a contingency) and repeat weekly. Sow Radish seeds in soil that is between 45-90o F (according to variety) at 1/2” depth. It will take anywhere from 4-12 days to germinate. Sow into moist soil.
Radishes prefer a soil temperature of 60-65o F, but it is dependent on the variety. The pH range should be between 6.0-7.0. Plant in rows giving 4” spacing between each seedling and 4” staggered, between each row. Do not plant Radishes next to fennel. Water regularly, radishes do not like to dry out. Radishes grow fast, generally from 25 -35 days! This makes them become an excellent row marker between slow germinating veggies like carrots, parsnips or even lettuce and greens.
Harvest Radishes when they reach maturity, according to the variety. Do not miss the specific harvest date as if you wait even a day, they can become stringy and fibery (yes, I just invent that word) in texture. Harvest all the mature radishes and store in your cellar or refrigerator, removing the greens.
Leave at least 10 radishes to continue to grow for seed. The plants will produce tall seed stalks, flower out and produce pods with seeds in the summer. Remove the entire seed stalk once it becomes dry and place in a paper bag. Gently flail and winnow the seeds from the pods and other plant material.