For instant gratification in the sporosphilia (seed sowing) world, radishes are it.
“Instant” is just three weeks from sowing to harvesting for some radish varieties like ‘Cherry Belle’. That really is fast, just 21 days.
It takes three to four times as long for tomatoes and corn. And even a fast lettuce takes over a month, unless you cheat and harvest the leaves as ‘micro greens’.
But on a level playing field, radishes are fast growers, as close to instant as you can get from sowing a seed to harvesting a crop from it.
I sow seeds for my radishes in the early spring garden, along with peas, lettuce, spinach, and onions. Later, when I sow seeds for squash, I also sow a few radishes around each squash hill because radishes are supposed to ward off squash borers or something like that.
I’m not sure if it works, but I do it anyway because if it doesn’t get too hot too soon, I just have more radishes to harvest and eat. Radishes, by the way, like it cool. As soon as it gets hot, they bolt and send up a big flower stalk, and then the roots are no good for eating.
This year my goal is to plant the radishes in succession through the first weeks of spring so that I don’t have an entire crop ready all at once, but have enough at one time to make a good radish sandwich. I’ll probably eat it Texas-American style, like Annie in Austin, who was inspired by the Dutch-European version that Yolanda Elizabet made.
Here are the varieties of radish that I’m planting:
‘Cherry Belle’ – Like I mentioned, it is as close to instant gratification as you can get in the world of sowing seeds. The first ones should be ready to harvest in about three weeks. I always plant ‘Cherry Belle’. It's the standard radish, with all other radishes compared to it.
‘French Breakfast' – This was an impulse buy from a few weeks ago when I saw a big seed display at a hardware store. This one is supposed to take just 23 days to be ready to harvest.
‘Salad Rose’ – This was an impulse buy from a few weeks ago at the hardware store. This one will take about 35 days from sowing to eating and should be good for spring and fall sowing.
‘Watermelon' - This was an impulse buy from a few weeks ago at the hardware store. That must have been some seed display, to lure me in and cause me to buy three varieties of radishes. I should have looked more closely at days to harvest on this one because it is 60 days. That is a slow radish, a very slow radish. Around here, this might be one to sow in late summer for a fall harvest. I’ll probably sow it in the spring anyway to see what I get and then decide if I want to sow it in the fall, too.
One packet of radish seeds usually includes 100’s of seeds, so I would guess between all four varieties I have 1,000 – 1,200 or more radish seeds. That’s enough for spring and fall plantings galore, a whole lot of instant gratification.
Is anyone else growing radishes this year?