Grow them right: Radishes

One of the best ways to get a child to start eating more veggies is to have them involved in growing their own.  Why not plant radishes this spring?

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Radishes are an excellent choice for young gardeners.  Radishes go from seed to harvest in as little as 21 days.  That’s less than a month before you can witness your child’s proud face when they harvest their first crop.

Radishes can also be interplanted with slower yield veggies such as broccoli, chard or squash.  If they are planted with cucumbers, their foliage will deter cucumber beetles.


After 3-4 weeks of continuous watering and sunshine days, let the kids dig up and take a big bite of their beautiful radish.  Both the fuschia root and the greens are edible, providing 14% vitamin C per half cup and modest amounts of folate, fiber, riboflavin, and B6.  They also provide minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper,  and calcium.  The real bonus in radishes are their anti-cancer compounds, including sulforaphane, proven to inhibit cancers in the breast, ovaries, prostate and colon.


Of course, it’s possible kids and adults will bite into their first radish, spit it out, and say “It’s too spicy.  Yuck!”  Radishes do have a bite, and planting a winter or spring radish in too warm of weather, which can happen in Texas, will make the radish taste stronger.

The solution?

Peel them.  Most of the pungency is in the skin, so grab your favorite vegetable peeler and gear up for another bite.

Also, try roasting them in the oven.  It softens the bite considerably, and when they are done, the radishes are a lovely shade of pink.

We got the idea from The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD., but the method is simple and doesn’t require a recipe.  Simply toss radishes in your favorite healthy fat and roast at 375-400F for about 35 minutes.

Radishes can also be placed in the roasting pan when baking a chicken, like you would with carrots and celery.


Ready to give it a try?  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offers over 40 radish varieties, including the “De 18 Jours” Radish–that’s a yield after only 18 days!

If you are aiming for the anti-cancer properties, try the Spanish Black Radishes, a deeply pigmented fall or winter variety.  The deep color delivers flavonoid compounds that aid in detoxification.  These varieties deliver a much stronger bite.

Have you had success with radishes?  What are your favorite varieties?

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