How to Get Growing some Radishes NOW.

Every bite I take of a radish today brings me back to the kitchen table in the house I grew up in.  Me, sitting on a worn, colonial maple chair, feet dangling, pushing a crisp red radish into a bowl of salt.  In my other hand, a piece of buttered white bread so soft it would stick in your teeth.  That’s how my mama raised me.  To completely obliterate the taste of anything with gobs of salt.

I don’t use quite as much salt in my cooking as she does, but I still dip green onions and radishes in a bowl of salt until they look like a bright, sparkling geode before popping them in my mouth.  And I grow radishes in the garden all summer long just so I can relive that dangling feet,  chasing butterflies moment.

I’m not sure why I feel I have to relive it, I still chase butterflies and quite frankly I’m kindda short so my feet still dangle from most things.  A yoga mat for instance.



The trick to growing radishes is making sure you’re growing them where they’re getting the perfect conditions for what they like.  They do not like heat.  So in the early spring you can plant radishes almost anywhere in full sun and still get radishes.  But if you plant them in the same place in the heat of summer you won’t end up with much more than an angry, string-like root.

So move them around the garden as you harvest them throughout the season, planting them under the shade of other vegetables when it’s really hot and sunny, then bringing them back out into the light once things start to cool down again.  You can also grow them under a shade cloth which I think you should because once I explain these bunches of radishes you’re going to want to bring them to every BBQ you attend this summer.

They are a great hostess gift.


Above all else don’t just stick to the classic red radish.  Radishes come in a ton of colours and spice levels.  The classic red radish (I grow RAXE, a classic cherry type radish) forms a perfect round ball but some of the others are elongated and bi-coloured like my favourite, the French Breakfast Radish.

I also grow purple, pink, pure white, jet black and watermelon radishes, which makes growing radishes and giving them away way more fun than just handing over a bunch of plain red ones.

It wasn’t until this year that it occurred to me that if I changed my planting technique in a couple of ways I could create the sort of epic radish harvest that would turn the world on it’s head.  I’m such a dumb dumb.


It began with starting the seeds in flats because they’d germinate quicker indoors. But instead of starting one seed per cell, I planted one of each colour radish seed I had.

So each cell contains 1 red, pink, purple, white and breakfast radish.


As soon as they were germinated, I popped each bunch of 5 or 6 radishes out of their cell and planted them out as an entire bunch.


And I walked away and let them grow.


You can see why this method of plating different coloured radish seeds in a bunch, close together is magical.

This way when it’s time to harvest the radishes I can just grab hold of one bunch and like a fireworks display I have a multicoloured display popping out of the ground in one fell swoop.


How fun will it be to give someone a tour of your garden and be able to pull out an entire bunch of multicoloured, firecracker radishes for them to take home?

And it’s as easy (and logical) as just planting a bunch of different radish seeds in bunches instead of spacing the out.  The more radishes you plant per grouped bunch the smaller they’ll be but they’re perfectly good eating size.

For a hostess gift I would pull 2 bunches and bundle them together with raffia, twine or even black silk ribbon tied in a bow.



Just add salt.


  1. Eileen says:

    How come the slugs don’t chow down on yours???? They always gnaw tracks around the little globes as soon as they start to show in my garden.
    I also remember fresh bread from my German Oma with butter and radishes and salt…or with fresh chives…(at least chives don’t seem to be bothered by any pests in my garden).

  2. JulieD says:

    Great idea! and beautiful, too!

  3. Grammy says:

    I was never crazy about radishes, but grew them for my husband. Then a Mexican friend told me Mexicans slice them and put them on tacos. They are so good that way! Perfect crunchy zing on top of whatever else you put in your taco.

    I had no idea you could grown them in shade when it’s hot! I’ve always just skipped planting any once the hot summer weather came along. Now I’m going to plant some in the shade of summer veggies and see what happens. Not today, of course — it’s going to be 110º here today in Sacramento. But maybe in a couple weeks when our brutal heat wave ends. Right now I’m just trying to keep the tomatoes and peppers alive.

    • Melissa Keyser says:

      Also fellow Sacramentoan here! I just moved here, and actually quite happy I don’t get full sun anywere in my yard!

  4. Llynnda says:

    the only other way to eat radishes? Peanut butter and radish sandwich, on white bread of course!

  5. donna says:

    When you transplant from the cell, do you separate the varieties a bit fir more growing room or do you plant the cell directly in the garden and they migrate for more room. Looks lovely and so cool. Going to do this next year!

  6. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Jet black!
    Are they very spicy?
    Radishes are one of my very successful projects.
    You inspire me to at least want to try to plant more…

  7. Kathy says:

    It was a search for info on using old seeds that led me to your site. You said radishes grow so fast you’ll know very soon if they are viable. And now you have taken radish planting to new heights. Glad to hear what you have to say.

  8. Linda in Illinois says:

    I tried to grow radishes years ago and didn’t succeed, no doubt I was misled into thinking they had to be in full sun. I tried again this year cause I got seed from my grand daughter and low and behold they are coming along great. Some are in the ground and some are in pots.. I just picked a white one last night. I have never tried salt but I will now. Thanks Karen.

  9. bellygrl says:

    What a fabulous idea! And your soil is beautiful – now I know why we never have luck with radishes…. they are not happy in our crap sandy soil….

  10. Moniaue says:

    They are beautiful! And what care you take at perfecting your gardening in such an artistic way.
    I have not had a ton of luck..I may try some now..that you have inspired me..I still have French seeds from a friend in Cannes..thought it was too hot..thanks Karen! The multi color bunch is thrilling..I would love that as a hostess gift..but I see eyes rolling in people I know;)

  11. Roylyn Parks says:

    Ah yes, what memories. I am 79, we always had a garden, and always had individual salt cellars for radishes and green onions. Sounds fancy and the salt cellars of my grandmothers were pretty, but our tableware probably didn’t match and we were a very ordinary household. I am so thankful I grew up with gardens and learned to eat green beans and English peas raw as I helped pick them. Too bad I am on a low salt diet now!

  12. connie says:

    I for one would be thrilled to get a bunch of radishes, more so than roses! ( haven’t got the heart to tell hubby that – sweet man that he is) I’ve tried planting radishes before but they never seemed to do well and now I know why – too much sun and heat ! Many fond memories of eating sun warmed tomatoes , cucumbers, green onions and radishes from my parent’s garden with a side order of salt ;)

  13. marilyn meagher says:

    I wish I liked them..

    • Karen says:

      That’s how I feel about mushrooms Marilyn. :/ I can handle very mild ones but for the most part I don’t like ’em. ~ karen!

  14. Mary W says:

    I read years ago (don’t know where) that a common after school snack in Germany or some other nation nearby was a radish sandwich – thinly sliced radishes on buttered homemade bread. I used to eat them with salt like my Dad did (German) when I grew up in Wisconsin. We usually had white bread with butter to eat at any meal. It is so interesting to look back and see the commonality among nations eating habits and how they spread. I also remember about 40 years ago when several local ranchers (Florida) were discussing their hunting trip out west and the terrible camp food – white bread with butter sandwiches along with whatever main food was served. They couldn’t believe people ate bread and butter sandwiches. I just laughed thinking how they thought they had been ripped off in ‘meals provided’ category of their trip. I guess they thought hot buttered biscuits would have been better out in the woods. LOL (But I bet it was real butter and not margarine.)

  15. Carrie says:

    The ONLY way to eat green onions is dipping them into salt!
    I grew up that way and thought it was something everyone did.
    If I cared for radishes,I would do the same. Think I’ll put some in my garden anyway using your technique. Looks fun. Thanks😀

  16. Chris White says:

    Since you inspired me to create my raised garden bed I think I must accept further advice on the contents. Radish seeds, here I come!

  17. Centi says:

    I’d love to get that as a hostess gift. Even better than flowers!

  18. Sarah Jackson says:

    You are not a dumb dumb. You are very clever and hard working.

  19. Diane says:

    How beautiful, Karen! And not one f$#)*^@) root maggot in site. Lucky you! What is your secret?

    • Karen says:

      It just happens to be one of the pests that isn’t rampant around these parts, lol. :) Not today anyway. Tomorrow things could turn to shit in that department. ~ karen!

    • Hfca says:

      If you spread wood ashes on the radish row, you don’t get maggots.

      • Diane says:

        Great tip! I will try that next spring…I’ve pulled all of my radishes out in a huff (but made lovely soup with the greens!)


    oh, it was about 27 years ago that a group of parents at the local coop preschool got the bug for veggie growing with the kids. I knew mine liked to grow and pick string beans but one of the moms suggested radishes. Yuk, I thought, as I wasn’t all that keen (then) on radishes. Mostly I’d been exposed to the tough little grungy things that would appear as a garnish on my plate at a restaurant.

    Well, imagine my surprise when the kids couldn’t wait for the harvest and yep, nibbled and loved their own radishes. One advantage was how fast they delivered an edible product.

  21. Kathleen Aberley says:

    Jet Black radishes? Oh my! Now if only I liked radishes!

    • Karen says:

      Well they’re just black on the outside. But that makes them look GREAT when they’re sliced because the black skin against the white centre is spectacular. ~ karen!

  22. LOIS M BARON says:

    My husband is appalled that I put salt on such things as watermelon and cucumbers. This is why I am an Olympic-class eyeball-roller. OF COURSE you put salt on stuff like this.

    • Robert says:

      Is there any other way to eat cucumbers and watermelons??
      One should always put salt on their cucumbers and watermelons, and of course freshly squished lime juice and liberally sprinkled chile piquin powder. Also on mangos, jicamas and oranges minus the lime juice

  23. Tina Hutton says:

    I LOVE this idea! I wouldn’t have voluntarily choose to plant radishes before I read your awesome group planting test. Now I have to do it! Thanks for the idea and the smiles reading your posts.

  24. Sandy Z says:

    Oh how I remember the bowl of salt on the picnic table on the picnic table in the back yard growing up. Radishes, green onions and cucumbers all still warm from just being picked…YUM!! Brought me back to my childhood. Thanks for that, and now I’m off to dream of beautiful plump, warm radishes dipped in salt.

  25. Paula Mann says:

    They also prove an excellent trap crop for flea beetles. They don’t seem fazed at all by the little shits nibbling away on them. Didn’t think about a BOWL of salt, but that’s going to be on the table every time I bring in a radish harvest!

    • Karen says:

      Flea beetles LOVEEEE radish leaves, lol. You’re right they would make a great trap crop around lettuce etc. ~ k!

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