Organic Gardening on the Gulf Coast - Lessons and tips from Foley's Cooper Farm

How to grow and use radishes, the fastest-growing vegetable: Cultivating the Coast with Kitti Cooper, presented by Saunders Yachtworks

Tips on growing your own radishes plus three easy radish recipes


Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginner, radishes are a fantastic choice for growing your own food in your backyard, no matter how much space you have available.

Radish is typically one of the first vegetables I recommend growing by seed for anyone new to gardening and even better for compact gardening to fill in all the small blank spaces. Radishes only take 24-30 days from seed to harvest with edible greens and bulbs, making them a quick and versatile food you can grow anywhere, even in a pot on a windowsill or patio.


Radishes are cool-ish season crops and flourish during the fall and spring months. These seasons provide the moderate temperatures that radishes thrive in, making them ideal times to grow. It's best to avoid planting radishes during the hot summer months (June/July), as the heat and humidity can stress the plants and lead to poor growth. Growing them in the shade is a great option, though, during the summer.


Choosing the right varieties: Radishes come in a variety of types and colors. From the classic red radishes to the larger white Daikon variety, there's a radish to suit every gardener's taste and garden.

Container gardening: Radishes grow well in pots, making them an excellent option for gardeners with limited space. Space the seeds about 2 inches apart and maintain a 2-inch distance from the pot wall to the base of any other plant in the same container. Always direct sow radish seeds; they do not transplant well.

Soil and planting:
Use well-draining soil that is free of rocks and sow seeds about 1 inch deep. Water the soil 2 to 3 times a week to keep it consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Sunlight and shading: Radishes prefer full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade. Radishes grown in full sun tend to produce larger bulbs, while those grown in shade will focus more on leaf growth and smaller bulbs.

Harvesting: Watch for the radish's shoulder (the top of the bulb) to start protruding through the soil as an indication that it's time to harvest. This typically occurs about 3 to 6 weeks after planting, depending on the variety.

Stagger planting: To maintain a consistent supply of radishes, consider planting seeds in intervals every few weeks.


There are many radish varieties to explore, all of which grow well in the Gulf Coast climate during the fall and spring seasons. Here's a closer look at a few types and how they can be utilized:

Daikon radishes: Known for their long roots, these radishes excel at breaking up hard clay soil and aerating it for future crops. They also act as nitrogen fixers, drawing nitrates up from deep within the soil, which benefits other plants.

Cherry belle radishes: Cherry belle radishes are the classic small red variety that many gardeners are familiar with. They grow quickly and have a crisp, slightly spicy flavor.

French breakfast radishes: A longer, slender variety with a mild flavor and tender skin, perfect for slicing and adding to salads.

Watermelon radishes: Named for their pink interior, watermelon radishes have a milder flavor and are visually striking when sliced.

Black radishes: Known for their black skin and white interior, black radishes have a stronger, spicier flavor. They can be pickled, roasted or added to dishes for an extra kick.


Radishes have a variety of uses beyond just being a salad topping. Here's how you can make the most of your radish harvest:

Radish greens: Don't overlook the green tops. Radish greens are nutrient-rich and can be made into a vibrant pesto or sautéed like collard greens. They can also be added to soups, stews or stir-fries for a boost of Vitamin K.

Radish bulbs: Radish bulbs add a crunchy, refreshing bite to salads, sandwiches and salsas. They can also be cooked by roasting, steaming or boiling, and their texture becomes more like a potato when cooked.

Preserving radishes: If you find yourself with a bountiful harvest, you can preserve radishes through pickling, which enhances their flavor and allows for long-term storage.


Radishes are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits:

Rich in Vitamin C: Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is vital for immune function and skin health.

Digestive health: Radish root stimulates digestive health and can aid in nutrient absorption. They also have a mild diuretic effect, helping to maintain healthy kidneys.

Antibacterial and antifungal properties: Radishes contain compounds that can fight off unwanted bacteria and fungi in the body, providing additional health protection.

Detoxification: Radishes support detoxification by helping cleanse the liver and stomach, promoting overall well-being.

Weight management: Radishes are low in calories but high in fiber, making them a great addition to any diet focused on weight management.


Fresh: Add sliced or diced radishes to your tacos, tuna/egg salads or anything else to add a refreshing, crunchy flavor.

Cooked dishes: Radishes can be roasted, boiled or steamed to soften their flavor and texture. When cooked, they take on a taste similar to potatoes.

Pickling: Pickled radishes are a flavorful addition to sandwiches, tacos or as a side dish.

Snacks: Enjoy raw radishes as a crunchy snack on their own or with a dip such a hummus.

Radish greens: Use radish greens in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews or sautés, to add nutrition and vibrant color.


To keep radishes fresh, separate the bulbs from the greens as soon as you harvest them. Store the bulbs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer, where they can last for up to two weeks. Use the greens quickly, as they tend to wilt faster.

Radishes are a versatile vegetable that can be easily grown in Baldwin County during the fall and spring seasons. They offer a host of health benefits and culinary possibilities beyond just being a salad bar filler. Whether you're growing them for the first time or are a seasoned radish cultivator, these tips will help you maximize your radish harvest and enjoy all the benefits they have to offer. Life's a garden, so DIG IT! Happy gardening, and enjoy your radish adventures!




Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl, combine the radishes, 1 tablespoon cooking fat (butter or oil), dried herbs of your choice, salt and pepper; toss until the radishes are evenly coated.

Spread radishes out in a single layer in a large 9×13 inch baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of baking, add minced garlic and toss. Return to oven to bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until radishes are golden brown and easily pierced
with a fork.

These are an awesome potato alternative that can double as a loaded radish casserole just add cheese, Conecuh or bacon, green onions and sour cream.



4 cups (packed) radish tops - (4 good handfuls) washed and dried

4 cloves garlic - finely chopped

1/2 large lemon - juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, pistachios or pine nuts. Whatever is on sale is my favorite.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil - plus more as needed

Salt and black pepper - to taste


Combine first six ingredients in a food processor or blender. (If you can't get all the greens into your processor, work in batches.)

Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add additional olive oil to achieve a thick sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Now all you need is a box of spaghetti, and you’re good to go!



1/2 pound radishes, stems removed (about 8-10)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 jalapeño, seeds removed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Salt and black pepper


Place radishes, garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Transfer to a small bowl and stir in salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Use on tacos, as a chip dip or cheap dinner. Just add rice and black beans (ground beef if it's in the budget), and you got yourself a superb Mexican bowl.

Photos provided courtesy of Kitti Cooper.