Growing Red Radishes

The red radish is a garden classic: early to sprout in spring, fast to mature, delicious and nutritious. The greens are good too.

Photo by: Sue Ding

Sue Ding

By: Nan Chase

Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus 

Red radishes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and shades. What they all have in common is a fast growth habit and a strong tendency to grow best in the cool soil of early spring and early fall. Taken together, these red radishes are also known as table radishes, and they are famous for their spicy flavor, crisp texture, and white inner flesh.

Other radish types – large white Asian radishes, black radishes, some icicle radishes – have more tolerance for heat and therefore a long-season growing.

Some of the most popular red radishes for the home garden include:

  • Scarlet Globe or Early Scarlet Globe. As the name suggests, this is a very early radish to sow in the ground and does well in sandy soil. Enjoy the deep red skin and uniform round roots.
  • Sparkler. An attractive radish with a red top and sometimes a white tip. This early radish can have a nice sweet flavor if conditions are right.
  • Cherry Belle. Bearing robust round roots, this variety tolerates warmer growing conditions than many other radishes.
  • Rover Hybrid. This reliable radish is another exception to the “no heat” tendency, and can grow into the summer without becoming tough.
  • German Giant. Wow, it’s big. This red radish can grow as big as a baseball, and if it gets enough water through the growing season will remain tender, not pithy.
  • Saxa 2. A super-early variety, this bright red radish can mature in as few as 18 days. With succession planting that means a steady supply much of the year.

To grow red radishes, check the seed packet for the suggested planting date. Prepare a bed of well-worked soil with lots of organic material – not too much clay – and mark the calendar to plant a portion of the seeds every week or two, in order to have a steady supply of radishes overa long period of time.

Sow seeds directly into the soil, from ¼ inch to ½ inch deep and about half an inch apart, depending on the variety. Cover the seeds with soil, tamp gently, and then water lightly with aspray rather than a harsh stream of water.

Tiny sprouts should appear within five days. Once the new radishes have put on their first fewsets of true leaves (not the first sprouting leaves), it’s time to thin them. The height will be about two inches. Pulling out some of the new sprouts will allow the remaining radishes to grow plump without crowding.

Don’t wait too long to harvest red radishes. Once they reach an inch in diameter it is time to start pulling them up. Rinse, cut off the green tops, and eat.

The greens, if not too full of holes from insects, may be steamed or braised for a delicious side dish.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Quick-Growing Spring and Fall Vegetables

From seed to dinner table in one month? These quick-growing vegetables give the garden a good start and a lingering end.

Growing Succulents Indoors

Nearly anyone wondering how to grow succulents indoors can look no farther than their own grandmother’s windowsill, which probably boasted at least one.

Vegetable Garden Plans

Taking time to plan a vegetable garden before you plant can pay dividends throughout the season. Clever use of low rows and tall accent plants creates microclimates that different vegetables enjoy, as well as great visual effects.

Growing Succulents Outdoors

Create the right conditions for growing exotic-looking hardy succulents outdoors in an garden, anywhere in the country.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

10 Vegetables That Are Easier to Grow Than Tomatoes

As the go-to plant for new gardeners, tomatoes really aren't the best choice. Here's what to try first instead.

Growing Purple Potatoes

What are purple potatoes? They are natural varieties with deep purple skins and flesh, high in antioxidants which makes them extra healthful to eat.

Growing Culinary Herbs

A master gardener gives tips on growing herbs at home.

Choosing a Site for Your Vegetable Garden

Growing vegetables in ideal conditions is not always possible, particularly if you have limited space, but it pays to find a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind and easily accessible for watering and weeding.

Growing Hydrangeas in Pots

Try your hand at growing hydrangeas in containers. Learn what you need to know to succeed.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.