Why Plant Radishes?

Radishes 1 I got a chance to talk with Jer-Bear about these radishes last week - because they're everywhere! - and because they have me stumped a bit.  I mean, WHY?  Ok - they're fine - they're kind of cute and they don't taste horribly but aren't exactly nummy - and what on earth do we do with all of these prolific little buggers?  They don't even have a lick of nutritional value!  (Well, rumor has it that the calorie count is so low in a radish that you burn more calories than you gain just by eating them. I suppose that's something, right?)

So I thought I would take this opportunity to ask Jer-Bear some questions about radishes:

These are the “French Breakfast” variety.  What’s the difference between this variety and other ones?

They are milder – not a strong “radish” taste to them.  They come up earlier, which is fun.  When they are the first things that grow in your garden, it's fun... "oooh, look!  Radishes!"  They grow so fast.  So it's really more about the spirit and fun of it, rather than the food.


(image from http://honestcooking.com/french-breakfast-radish-and-sunflower-sprout-tartines/)

Why do they call them the breakfast variety? Are you supposed to eat them for breakfast?

I don't know.  You sure can if you want to.  I like to eat them raw, with a little salt.  Or, in a sandwich, which is my favorite way.  I grew up with them that way.  Of course, we used to go out in the garden, pull them out of the ground, wipe them on our shirt, and eat them -- even if we just walked through the chicken house.  It's amazing we lived.  

Now that I think about it, when I was in Europe I remember radishes being on the breakfast buffets.   

Why have you planted them this year? We are not huge radish eaters… so, what gives?

I read that if you plant radishes surrounding (and actually in-between) the squash and pumpkins, you help keep the critters away.  There’s a “grub-worm” that eats the core of the vine, and they eat everything inside it that kills the squash. So, planting radishes in and around the squash helps keep them away… the bugs don’t like the flavor and smell of the radishes.  And since I’ve planted the radishes like that I haven’t had nearly as much trouble.

Plus, radishes are a “friend” of everything in the garden - not just squash.  (Nasturtiums do the same thing, actually.)


Thanks, Jer-Bear!