Winter Radishes vs. Spring Radishes

What to Plant When

Of all the vegetables one can cultivate, radishes are one thing that’s always in abundance in my garden.

I love their top-to-tail usefulness in the kitchen and grow them year-round for the greens as well as the roots (and even the flowers as well as the seed pods — yep, all edible).

When the first sign of fall arrives, those tight little bunches of palm-sized orbs start to make way for larger, starchier roots like black radish, watermelon radish, and daikon — or what are known as winter radishes.

While spring radishes (like White Hailstone, Purple Plum, and Cherry Belle) go from seed to harvest in a span of four weeks or less, winter radishes take twice as long to mature, from eight to ten weeks.

They’re sowed in late summer or early autumn and grow to size before winter sets in — ideal for winter storage, hence their name.

In warm winter climates, you can even keep them going all season by succession sowing into spring. Because they grow over a long period, similar to turnips, they offer a greater harvest and are much more versatile in the kitchen.

Texture- and flavor-wise, winter radish greens are similar to Swiss chard, tender and mild. You can start picking a small handful of leaves from each plant just a few weeks after it sprouts (and before it matures) without affecting growth.

Compared to winter types, spring radishes seem to come and go in the blink of an eye. They grow so fast that they can be planted between rows of other crops, then picked before they’re shaded by their neighbors.

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