The City Magazine Since 1975

Hot Reds

February 2017
Hot Reds
WRITER: 
Sow radish seeds to spice up the spring garden 

This month’s gardening goal? Get quick- and easy-to-grow spring radish seeds in the ground while daytime temps average around 50°F to 60°F. Keep things interesting by picking several varieties, such as ‘French Breakfast,’ ‘Crimson Giant,’ and an ‘Easter Egg’ seed blend (see below).

In a sunny location, plant the seeds directly into light, well-draining soil (preferably with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8), at a depth of one inch, spaced about four inches apart. Be sure to keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.

To extend your harvest, sow a new batch each week until the mercury hits 60°F—they’ll be ready to eat in just three to four weeks. However, be forewarned that as our days warm, the radishes’ mild flavor will diminish, and they will become pithy. The higher temps will also quicken the growth rate and trigger “bolting,” or seed production. (If a plant bolts, cut the dainty blooms to use in a floral arrangement, and discard the root.)

As a general rule, radishes are ready to be unearthed when they’re about an inch in diameter, though exact sizes depend on variety. The versatile veggies can add a spicy bite to salads or sandwiches, be roasted with herbs for a yummy side, or pickled for year-round enjoyment.

Spring Radish Collection:

’French Breakfast‘: This heirloom variety’s elongated, scarlet-red root (reaching about 1¾ inches long and 3/4 inches wide) fades to white toward the tip. It has a crisp, delicate flavor and looks lovely served whole for snacking.

‘Crimson Giant‘: Growing to a larger size, this radish retains its mild flavor when harvested at 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. It boasts the more traditional bright red exterior, which contrasts beautifully with the crisp white interior.

‘Easter Egg‘ Blend: Plant a rainbow of color—including serene white, rosy pink, vibrant purple, and brilliant red—with this crowd-pleasing seed combo. Harvest when the radish is no larger than 1½ inches in diameter.