Spring radishes vary in several ways and you might be surprised at the variety of radish cultivars available. Even your local big box store probably carries several kinds so be prepared to make some choices and get the radish of your dreams (interesting idea, huh?).
Here are some guidelines to use in making your selection.
Use Some people use radishes only for garnish, others eat them raw; still others cook them, and a few eat the greens (yes they are edible and tasty). So, appearance might make a difference to you and if so look closely at the pictures on the seed packs and buy what appeals to your eyes.
Color of Exterior The typical radish that has graced grocery stores is bright red but there are also white ones, like ‘White Icicle’, and red and white, like ‘French Breakfast’. ‘Purple Plum’ is deep magenta. To really surprise you in the garden, ‘Easter Egg’ seeds from the same package may produce red, white, pink, lavender, or purple roots.
Color in Interior Most radishes have bright white interiors, but not all. ‘Read Meat’ has bright pink flesh surrounded by a band of green.
Shape The shape of radishes varies from round (‘Champion’) to oval (‘Early Scarlet Globe) to long and thin (‘Icicle’)
Size There are a number of larger-than-normal radishes available. ‘Champion’ may reach golf ball size while “German Giant’ may get as large as a baseball.
Bunching Ability If you are growing radishes for home consumption you probably don’t care about this characteristic but if you plan to bunch them up for sale you might. Radish varieties with small tops. Like ‘Cherry Belle’, can be made into bunches better than those with large tops.
Days to Maturity Radishes are generally a quick growing crop but some take a little longer than other to reach maturity. Since you can eat radishes when they are immature, days to maturity is not a big issue in most cases. On the other hand for some gardeners, especially very young ones, the quicker the better. ‘Cherry Belle’ at 22 days is the fastest and ‘German Giant’ at 30 is the slowest.
Disease Resistance: Radishes usually don’t have many disease or pest problems but if there is a history of such things in your area try ‘Fuego’. It’s resistant to fusarium and tolerant fo blackroot/black scurf.
Here’s a list of good radishes for the home garden sorted by color and shape with information to make you selection easier.
‘Champion’ (28 days, large, round, red)
‘Cherry Belle’ (22 days, round, red, good bunching)
‘Cherry Queen’ hybrid (24 days, deep red, round, slow to become pithy)
‘Fuego (25 days; round red; medium tops; resistant to fusarium, tolerant to blackroot/black scurf
‘German Giant (30 days, very large, red)
‘Early Scarlet Globe’ (23 days, globe, small taproot, bright red)
‘French Breakfast’ (25 days, red with white tips
‘Burpee White’ (25 days; round, smooth white skin
‘Snow Belle’ (30 days, round, white, smooth)
‘Red Meat’ (30 days, round, white with green shoulder, hot pink flesh)
‘Icicle’ (27 days, slim, very brittle)
‘Purple Plum (25 days, round, large, deep magenta
Mixed Colors (red, white, pink, lavender, purple)
Easter Egg (25 days, various colors, oval)
The majority of radish seeds you are likely see are for red and round radishes but seeds for the long and/or white ones are usually available. Look around a bit and you will find them. Our local feed store carries several kinds that you can be in bulk for a very reasonable price.