A lot of people don’t like radishes, which is so sad. They are really one of the great under appreciated vegetables. I think they get a bad rap because the ones at the store are so often old, pithy, and spicy. Sometimes they even have a rubbery texture.
Homegrown radishes are an entirely different story. They are delightfully crunchy and have a mild flavor as long as you keep them consistently moist and pull them young—just after their shoulders pop up out of the soil. I love to harvest the roots, rinse them off, dip their tips in salt and pop them in my mouth. The French often serve thinly sliced radishes on a piece of buttered, crusty baguette. If you don’t like radishes, try them that way. You just might change your mind! Trust me on this.
I always sow radish seed thickly because I love to thin out the spicy sprouts and add them to a cheese sandwich or salad. The seeds germinate in just a couple of days and the roots are ready in just over a month (or less when the soil is warm). The greens have a velcro-like texture when raw, but they are chock full of vitamins and delicious cooked. I twist off the tops and cook them just as I would arugula or spinach (they are especially good in eggs). Chickens also don’t mind a snack of radish tops.
I sow radishes every two or three weeks in bare spots around the garden. Radishes come in a huge range of colors including black, watermelon (white on the outside, red on the inside), pink, purple, white, and of course, red. I have some ‘French Breakfast’ radishes in the garden right now. Unlike most garden radishes, they have cylindrical red roots with white tips. Such a fun alternative to regular red! Radishes send up a seed stalk in warm weather. The short seed pods have a spicy flavor and taste wonderful stir-fried with chervil. In fall, if you allow a few radishes to go to seed, they will often self-sow and grow in spring!