Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Growing Heirloom Radishes in Kihei

Mooli Daikon and Long Black Spanish
Mahalo Sri for the Mooli seeds!

Radishes grow well in Kihei during our coolest months and are best planted from late October through mid-January. Radishes harvested after the temps drop in January or February are usually the sweetest.

It takes at least 2 months for Long Black Spanish to grow to an edible size. They're white inside, somewhat dry and slightly hot. Long Black Spanish and Round Black Spanish store longer under refrigeration than any other radishes I've grown.

Lungo Rosso Sardo a Punta Bianca is Italian for "Sardinian long red - white tip". Lungo Rosso grew as fast as the White Icicle and can be pulled in about 6 weeks. Lungo Rosso was the most heat tolerant radish I've grown.

Watermelon is a Chinese radish that's marketed under various names. They're bright fuscia inside and ready to harvest in two months. They aren't as heat tolerant as Longo Rosso. They're naturally sweet and the perfect size radish for a Square Foot Garden.

Miyashige is a Japanese daikon and Mooli is an Indian daikon. They're easy to grow and reach 1 foot long in about 3 months.

Daikon, and the longer radishes, need at least 12 inches of loose soil and that normally exceeds the depth of a Square Foot Garden or most raised beds. I grow the longer radishes in 15 x 15 x 15 inch plastic containers.

I fill the container up to 2 to 3 inches from the rim with a natural or organic potting soil. Then amend the soil with green sand and an organic all-purpose fertilizer. Radishes usually need daily water and an application of fish emulsion twice per month. I plant most long radish seeds in a 4 row grid.and daikon in a 3 row grid.

Grown in containers, the radishes had no bug problems with the exception of cabbageworms munching on the leaves in January and February. Radish leaves grow fairly rapidly and they aren't the cabbageworms favorite greens so I don't normally cover them.

A great way to use radishes is to slice them paper thin with a vegetable peeler or mandolin and put them in bowl of icy cold salted water or finely grate them and add to salads. Wider radishes can easily be grated in a spiral grater. For a great raw food lunch, grate daikon in a spiral grater, toss with some Hawaiian Alae salt, serve with ahi sashimi, seaweed and sliced local avocado.

Tropical fruit dressings really bring out their flavors especially dressings like Maui's Ono Red Panini. Maui's Ono is local cottage business - their dressings are available at the roadside strawberry farm on Kula Hwy.

In March I let one of the Miyashige Daikon radishes flower and produce seed pods. The pods look a bit like sugar peas and can be pickled.

Radish Seed Pods & Pickles

Baker Creek Heirloom SeedsGourmet Seed and Seeds From Italy have large selection of heirloom and open pollinated radish seeds.


  1. Beautiful Radishes!! I especially like the Long Black Spanish Radish.

  2. Growing Daikon for first time in lower Puna, not sure what kind? Plant in raised bed about 10 inches deep soil. How do you think I will do?

    1. It should grow fine - you can harvest the radishes before they get too long.