Until I started farming, I thought radishes were only for salad bars and grandparents.
Granted, the only time I saw radishes were when I went out to eat with my grandparents, and everywhere we went there was a salad bar. With radishes. If I tried them once, I quickly determined that they were too spicy for my young taste.
Ironically, it was a kid around 8 years old who first showed me how to love radishes. She’d visit the school garden I managed, where her older sister worked as a student-gardener, and this girl would pull up a root and crunch right into it without a second thought to spice or dirt.
So I started bringing radishes home and slicing them into my salads. Eating them not from a chilled bar, but out on my front porch after a day in the garden.
Radishes are now one of my favorite spring crops.
They’re one of the first crops of spring, ready for harvest less than a month after seeding.
Plus they’re beautiful.
If for nothing else, I’ll grow radishes for their vibrant red amidst the green crops of spring. And for the way their crunch and spice wakes up a meal.
While I associate radishes with spring, they can be grown all summer and fall, too.
Here are my favorite varieties, in order of days to maturity (DTM):
Celesta F1 Radish – 25 DTM. My favorite round red radish! This variety resists splitting, even when harvested a bit on the late side. It’s uniform, beautiful, and spicy, with 1” roots. Best all-season variety.
D’avignon Radish* – 21 DTM. This variety is ready to eat in just 3 weeks from seeding. Slender and cylindrical, these 3 – 4” deep-rose roots end with a white tip. This traditional heirloom variety originally comes from Southern France. Best in spring and fall.
Cherry Belle Radish – 25 DTM. If you prefer open-pollinated variety, this is the one to grow. It’s bright red roots are uniform and resist pithiness, though can be slightly more prone to splitting compared to Celesta. ¾ – 1” roots. Best in spring and fall, but can be grown in summer, too.
French Breakfast* – 26 DTM. With 1 – 2” oblong, scarlet-colored roots, French Breakfast is slightly shorter and wider than D’avignon. Uniform and bright with slightly less spice compared to Celesta, this is a perfect gateway variety to get non-radish lovers crunching into them. Best in spring and fall.
*We buy our radish seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Their strains of D’avignon and French Breakfast are distinctive. Since strains can vary from seed company to seed company, French Breakfast or D’avignon may be sold as the same variety, or look slightly different from other companies.
Simplicity reigns when it comes to eating radishes.
D’avignon and French Breakfast are traditionally eaten with butter and salt. Try them on their own, or sliced on top of a buttered baguette and sprinkle with salt.
Cherry Belle and Celesta are delicious sliced and sprinkled with salt, eaten on their own or added to salad.
Are you a radish lover? In the comments below, let me know you’re favorite way to prepare and eat them.