Originating in China thousands of years ago, radishes spread west via Egypt during the time of the pharaohs, then to Greece, and Rome, and other European countries. They found their way to North America in the late 1500s.
Radishes are quick-growing and generally require 4 to 10 weeks from seeding to harvest, depending on type. They are most often eaten raw in salads, but are also stir-fried, pickled, or used in soups. Most of the flavor is in the skin and diminishes after peeling.
Types & Varieties
Multiple types of radishes exist, with some of the more popular being red or red and white. Varieties include Cherry Belle, Early Scarlet Globe, Red Globe, Champion, Red Prince, Sparkler, Daikon, Black, White Icicle, and California Mammoth White.
Black radishes have a black or dark brown skin with white flesh when peeled, and generally have a longer shelf life.
Radishes germinate at soil temperatures between 65 and 85°F with good moisture, though new cultivars tolerate hot, longer days.
Color will deteriorate when grown on the same land for many years; regular crop rotation can also help avoid soilborne pests and diseases.
Rapid growth ensures a mild flavor and crisp texture while slow growth may result in a woody texture and high pungency.