Radishes do not get much respect. One of the earliest vegetables to produce, they are usually thought of as those little globes of red on trays of crudites served at parties in place of real food. Radishes can be tasty if grown properly. While the basic color scheme is red or white, or a combination, they come in globe or long versions for variety.
Radishes are one of the first crops planted in the spring and take four to five weeks to produce eating size radishes. They become woody and do not taste good if allowed to stay in the ground too long. However, when pulled on time, the leaves can also be eaten. One ten foot row will feed a family of four unless they eat an unusually large amount of radishes.
Radishes are one of the few vegetables that will grow in partial shade. As Gayla mentions in You Grow Girl, the globe radishes are excellent candidates for container gardening. Even the longer radishes can be grown in pots if you choose a bigger pot, or a #2 washtub with holes poked in the bottom for drainage.
Radishes are also ideal for square foot gardening as they can be planted at a high density and thinned as they grow. In fact, radishes have such small seeds you cannot help but plant them very closely together. Plant 1/2 inches deep and 1 inch apart. To enjoy radishes for a longer part of the spring, plant one third of the row, wait 8-10 days and plant the next third, then another 8-10 days before planting the final third. As the roots start expanding on the baby plants, thin to one plant every two inches. You can eat the ones you thin in salad, along with their tops.
Radishes are related to both the turnip and horseradish, so they have some kick. Those that are raised in the heat of summer or are allowed to get too big have a lot more kick. According to Tina Wilson of Small Town Living, radishes that are too hot can be sliced and soaked in salty water for about 30 minutes to draw some of the heat out.
The radishes can be saved in the refrigerator for about three weeks. The tops keep three days. Radishes don’t have many problems with insects or diseases because they grow so fast. You can throw ones that get too mature in the compost heap to make room for the next crop on your list.
For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!