Join Me in The Great Radish Experiment!

I know it seems like summer is a ways off, but one of the very first things you can plant are radishes (they like cooler temperatures) and I know you’re all itching to buy some seeds and get started, so why not take part in this little experiment with me and plant some radishes right NOW?!

 

I am 100% sick of sitting around with nothing more to do than anxiety organize my cupboards.  Admittedly I do think that’s kind of fun, but it can’t be the only fun one has. So I thought you might like to try out a little experiment with me.

We’re going to grow radishes right here, right now with mounds of snow outside.

I’ve been growing radishes (outside in spring) for years, and giving them away as hostess gifts for summer BBQs, but this year I wanted to grow some even earlier than normal to hand out like little bouquets as soon as it gets nice out.

This might work and it might fail. Either way we’ll have learned something. I’ll have learned that radishes can’t be grown in winter and you’ll have learned not to listen to me.

OR

We’ll all grow radishes in the winter and wonder why we never thought to do it before.

For the purpose of this experiment I’ll be starting the radishes mid-winter indoors.  This post explains everything you need to know about how to start seeds yourself at home.

 

I’m going to use a variety of radishes like I do when I grow Radish Bouquets for housewarming presents. You can get a lot of radish growing tips in that post.

Radishes aren’t just the red round ones you see in grocery stores, my favourite radish isn’t even round it’s cylindrical with a white tip: The French Breakfast Radish.

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. You can find most of these types of radish seeds are your local seed supply store. 

Since gardening has become so popular you can even find some of the more interesting varieties in grocery stores, hardware stores and nurseries.

Plant several varieties of radish seeds in a single cell block with up to 6 seeds.  Then grow like you would indoors

Normally as soon as they have germinated,  each bunch of 5 or 6 radishes is popped out of their cell and planted outside as an entire bunch.

BUT in this experiment things will go a little differently.

In winter once the seeds have sprouted and we want to plant them outside it will mean tricking the radishes a little bit into thinking it’s further along in the season than it actually is.  There are a few ways to go about this.

  1. By protecting the radishes and warming their environment with a small hoop house or low tunnel covered with plastic.
  2. In an outdoor greenhouse.
  3. In a cold frame.
  4. Or in a pot in a window with a LOT of light.  A south facing is your best bet for success.

I’m going to use my very small outdoor greenhouse that I bought last year. In the spring I used it to get my luffas outside early and in the fall to cure my squash harvest.

As soon as the seedlings have sprouted, but before they’ve had much of a chance to get used to the lavish indoor growing conditions – I’ll put them in pots, and put those pots out in the greenhouse and wait for them to reach maturity.

For optimal greenhousey performance I’ll keep the greenhouse flat up against the wall of my house on the porch to take advantage of radiant heat from my home’s bricks.

I will also set up my seed starting mats (which are like heating pads) in the greenhouse for added warmth.

Then we wait to see what happens.  If things go according to plan each pot will have a bouquet of various coloured radishes growing close together.  

If you plan to try radishes right in the ground in winter you’ll have to either put them in a cold frame (you can get instructions on how to build a cold frame here) or in a low tunnel with plastic over it. A low tunnel is the same thing as a hoop house, but lower. 

So what do you say? Wanna give it a shot with me? If it works it’ll be rad. If it kind of works it’ll be rad-ish.

66 Comments

  1. Christina Keely says:

    How did it go?!?!?!

  2. Elizabeth Menard says:

    I’m in! I just planted 6 varieties, straight in the ground. I live on Vancouver Island, so fairly mild here, but I put a couple of old windows over top to help warm the soil. So excited to get gardening! LOVE your blog, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! I checked on mine an hour ago and the outdoor ones (in the greenhouse and in a little Cozy Coat) aren’t doing anything yet. The indoor ones are germinating and popping up. ~ karen!

  3. May says:

    I refer to radishes as hot wood and water chestnuts as Chinese wood.
    My mom used to plant radish seeds with carrot seeds. The radishes grow quickly and are harvested quickly making space for the carrots to grow

  4. Viki Lambert says:

    One of my favorite things is the radish seed pods. They look like little pea pods with a mild radish flavor. Good in stir fries and salad.. I snack on them when in the garden.

  5. Carrie L Krumrie says:

    My husband loves radishes!!! So, I got my seeds. I showed them to him! Under impressed! Oh, well!!
    We live North of Atlanta, so I am going to just throw caution to the wind…..and put them outside!!!
    He was impressed they grew so quick!!!

    • Karen says:

      Wait. What? They’ve grown already, lol??? ~ karen!

    • Kat - the other 1 says:

      Wow! I’m just south of Atlanta, and just started a pot of gourmet radishes for containers seeds, & now the temp plopped. Oy! I’m hoping they’ll be ok! But your temps have been somewhat chillier , I think, so here’s hoping!
      I don’t think I even like radishes lol. But dad saw me labeling the pot and said, “Oh! I like radishes.”
      So somebody will eat them. If they grow. If the slugs & da@! squirrels don’t get them. :)

      • Kat - the other 1 says:

        I’ve got a few sprouts!!! I’ve got a few sprouts!!! :D

      • Kat - the other 1 says:

        I didn’t get any radishes. :(
        Just tops. A very few 1/4inch radishes.
        They were really tough. I finally went to pull them all up, to fry the leaves, and just leave a few to seed, but they were being eaten by aphids. Grrr! Nasty bugs!

      • Karen says:

        I ended up with radishes, but they were long and cylindrical. Another reader had the same thing! ~ karen!

  6. Jessica L Patton says:

    I bought some wasabi radish seeds this year as well, let’s see how they go ! I love spicy varieties

  7. DANNY LINGMAN says:

    Picked radishes are pretty good. Slice, sprinkle salt on. Leave for a couple hours, then rinse, and put in a jar and cover with apple cider vinegar.

  8. Mary Fehlman says:

    Sliced radishes in stir fry taste like water chestnuts. Perfect crunchiness!

    • Warren Whittle says:

      Coincidence! I love radishes but I have never had them cooked (I am 73) in any way. Yesterday my wife stir fried some diced chicken breast with celery, mushrooms, green peppers, radishes and oyster sauce. The radishes (ordinary globe type ex supermarket) had a spicy taste much like mild chillies. I would rate it 12 out of 10!

  9. Marg says:

    I thought I hated radish but maybe this is the year to challenge that!
    It’s still -30’C this week in Northern Alberta so I think I’ll stick to cupboard organization for a few months!

  10. Nancy Ann says:

    I live near Tampa and it’s 85 degrees today, but those are such cute little radishes I’m going to get some seeds and try it!!

    • whitequeen96 says:

      You’re just rubbing it in about how warm it is to make everyone else jealous!
      Note: I live in southern California and I like to do the same thing! ;-) It’s orange blossom season here!

  11. Karen A says:

    Well, I’ve been impatient to start planting so this is right up my alley.
    Challenge accepted :-D

  12. Lynda says:

    Radishes are wonderful to replace potatoes in stews and soups.

    • Jessica L Patton says:

      I have a grow light coming in today, I’m going to attempt an entirely inside-grown radish for you!

  13. Debbie Gibson says:

    Have you ever had fried radishes? So totally yummy!! Just treat like cottage potatoes, chop up, add onion and garlic and whatever spices you love. They don’t get crisp like potatoes but, oh man I’m off to pick up a bunch right now. Give it a try, you’ll be happier.

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