Oh hello rooftops of Brooklyn, look at how beautiful and empty you are! Think of all the fresh veggies that could be grown here! Think of all the mouths that we could feed! Think of all the happiness harvesting would cause! One day I hope to look out and see all these rooftops full of luscious greens, but until then I’ll just keep on promoting….
One of my favorite things to plant are carrots and radishes. These are both easy to plant and we’ve always had success with getting a great yield, even in the Winter time. Lots of people ask me what vegetables they should start out with in beginning gardens and I always suggest carrots and radishes. Radishes are especially great for those new to gardening as they’re ready to pick in less than 30 days which is really helpful when it comes to needing support and motivation. Once you pick your first homegrown radish, then I know you’ll be hooked more to experiment with new vegetables.
How to Grow Radishes and Carrots in Containers
We always plant D’Avignon radishes which are a traditional variety from Southern France. They grow to be about 4 inches long (and oh so pretty!) and they have a crispy crunch with a bit of spice to them. I usually snack on them whole, put in salads or most often use them in fresh pasta dishes full of other vegetables we harvest.
So let’s get planting radishes, alright?
Note: Below I’m planting radishes but we plant carrots the exact same way. So you can use this method to grow them both exactly the same.
Like our entire garden, the radishes get planted in a container. I’ve had success with radishes growing in many sized containers, including small window boxes so don’t feel like you need something big to grow in. This container is about 2×2 feet and will grow 25 radishes, so you really don’t need a lot of space to grow a bunch of radishes. First up, let’s get our potting mix ready with some plant food so these radishes are going to get fed. Feeding your vegetables = big and healthy, so it’s important to fertilize.
Because this is a smaller container I’m going to want to work the food plant into the potting mix with my hands to make sure it gets worked in good and doesn’t end up burning our plants once they’re planted. For a container this size I use the amount I have in my hand and then another half of it.
Then very lightly work it into the top 1 inch of the potting mix, making sure to evenly distribute it. It’s a good idea to do this every Spring with your containers as the food lasts 2-3 months which is about how long carrots take.
Then you’ll start making your rows. With a rooftop garden, we learn quickly to use all the space we have, so we’ll plant our radish seeds about 4 inches apart. Planting them this close has never been a problem and gives them plenty of room to grow.
Then around 3-4 weeks your radishes are going to begin popping out of the potting mix. Your heart is going to pitter patter when you see them ready to be picked!