Want to grow a zesty snack that can be directly sown in the garden at any time of the year?  Radishes are a perfect choice. They thrive in the Bay Area’s mild climate. Most radishes reach maturity in less than two month’s time. These peppery root veggies make a great addition to salads, soups and sandwiches, and they’re delicious straight from the garden!

Native to Asia and Europe, radishes have long been cultivated on both continents. Selective breeding of radishes has resulted in an abundance of varieties. They can be long or short, thick or thin, and have either a mild or spicy flavor. Colors range from black, purple, red, or pink, to white. Many can be found at your local grocery store; many more can be grown from seed. The following are a few recommended varieties that can be found in the BHN seed section.

‘Holmes’ Royal Red’ ~ A classic red variety introduced to the U.S. before 1950. Early maturing (read, fast turn-around). Roots are entirely red and round, each measuring just over 1 inch. Crisp, juicy, and mild.

‘Garden Party’ Mix ~ A virtual rainbow of colorful varieties including purple, pink, red, white and gold. Add them for flavor and color to any green salad, or slice for eye-catching appetizers. A staff favorite!  

watermelon radish - Illustration by Helen Krayenhoff‘Watermelon’ ~ (a.k.a. Beauty Heart or Red Meat) Probably the most spectacular looking of all radish varieties, it has a light green outside and a hot pink heart. It adds the perfect bit of flair and peppery sweet flavor to green salads. 

‘Karaine’ or ‘Miyashige White’ Daikon  ~ These carrot-shaped white radishes grow to six, or ten inches in length, respectively. They have a refreshingly crisp texture and mildly peppery flavor. They have long been used in the celebration of the Japanese New Year and are perfect for use in Namasu (pickled radish) and your miso soup. If you enjoy eating steak, try grated daikon with a little soy sauce as a garnish. 

Like most root vegetables, radishes can only be purchased to start from seed. Small pots are not very accommodating to the bulky roots of these plants. With many radish varieties available, these warm peppery roots are worth a second look. Happy sowing!