Radishes have unique pigments including red, purple, pink, white, yellow, green, and multi-colored varieties. Watermelon radish is an Asian heirloom with a pale green exterior and a rosy red interior. Its appearance remarkably resembles watermelon, hence its name. This variety is gorgeous, and like all radishes, it’s also nutritious! Radishes are a good source of vitamin A, C, K, folate, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium . Radishes also contain anthocyanins, a type of pigment that can appear red, purple, or blue. This pigment has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that can help treat or prevent degenerative diseases. This root crop is good for arthritis relief, weight management, and heart and skin health. To learn how to grow radishes, scroll down below.
This growing guide is specific to watermelon radish. This cultivar is also known as “beauty heart” in Chinese. It’s a unique radish variety not typically available in grocery stores. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to grow in the garden. When grown in cold weather, it has a sweet and slightly peppery taste. Appearing like a watermelon, it’s a beautiful garnish to a meal. It also makes a crunchy snack, and a great addition to salads.
Watermelon Radish Growing Guide
It’s best to sow seeds outdoors in mid-summer for a fall harvest. However, in temperate zones, you can start seeds towards the end of summer. In Los Angeles, it gets too hot in the middle of the summer, so I start in September.
To grow radishes, sow seeds 1 inch apart, 1/2 inches deep, and in rows 6 inches apart. The soil should be fertile and well drained. However, it is best to avoid fresh manure and organic matter since they contain too much nitrogen conducive of foliage instead of plump and tasty roots . To make sure that your crop is sweet and crispy, keep soil evenly moist and never let it go dry. Dry soil results in bitter roots that may not be pleasant for everyone.
It’s best to thin seedlings early since radishes grow fast. Seedlings should be thinned so that there are 3 inches between each plant. Make sure not to throw the baby radish leaves because they’re great in salads.
Harvest and Use
Grow radishes in your garden and in 50-70 days you can enjoy a nutritious and tasty root. Watermelon radish tastes best when it’s between 2-4 inches in diameter. The interior flesh only turns rosy red when its fully mature, so don’t harvest too early if you seek its unique watermelon appearance. Harvest in cool fall weather for a sweet and crunchy root. For storage, keep in cool and dry place or the refrigerator. I love eating watermelon radish raw. Thinly slice it and sprinkle olive oil, lemon (or wine vinegar), chopped scallions, salt, and pepper for a quick dish. Watermelon radish is also great in salads, and it makes a plate gorgeous and appetizing!