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. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Lovely, Karen! Have you or anyone else tried eating the tops? I heard or read somewhere that they’re edible. Maybe we should let “Mikey try it”!

    • Melissa Keyser says:

      I’ve seen then baked like kale to make chips! I think you could also sautee them or add them to soup, but they a have slight pokey texture, so I don’t think raw would be a good way to eat them.

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        Hi Melissa, thanks for your reply. What is a “pokey” texture? Never heard the term! Maybe it’s a regional thing? I’m in southern Ontario.

  2. Alena says:

    I don’t understand any of you salt-dippers.
    The thought of eating that much salt makes me cringe. I have always used very little salt, when I was younger that meant almost no salt at all and just a few sprinkles when I boiled potatoes.
    Unfortunately, I have gotten worse since I moved to Canada but I still use salt very sparingly. Salt on anything sweet – eeew! I eat avocado without a single flake of salt (or pepper) and I absolutely HATE salted butter – why on Earth is it necessary to have salt in butter and in general, so much butter in everything? I read labels on everything I buy at a grocery salt and when I see that an item has too much salt I won’t buy. With the exception of goat feta cheese – can’t imagine a salad without it.

  3. 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).

  4. JulieD says:

    Great idea! and beautiful, too!

  5. 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!

  6. Llynnda says:

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

  7. 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!

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