Daikon radish — also known as mooli — is one of our favorite things to grow. The small leaves are my personal favorite in salads, and the larger greens are more tender (and faster-cooking) than collards or turnips.
The roots, of course, are what most people recognize when they think of Daikon radish. They are a little spicy for me raw, but they bake, boil or fry just like turnips with a very similar taste. Many people pickle or ferment them — which is on my bucket list but I haven’t gotten that far.
Daikon radish also has some amazing medicinal properties that you can read more about on this medical site, https://www.lybrate.com/topic/benefits-of-daikon-and-its-side-effects.
We don’t have FDA approval to make any claims ourselves, but we can say it’s packed with nutrients, including some that are hard to find in plant-based diets.
Finally, if you let Daikon radish go to flower, it attracts bees and butterflies from all over. In our Florida yard, it laughs in the face of freezing temperatures which makes it incredibly valuable to wildlife who have lost other food sources to cold weather.
And maybe best of all, it’s easy-peasy to grow. You don’t even need to plow or rake down to a solid dirt surface. Just sprinkle Daikon radish seeds wherever you want them (except on layers of heavy mulch) and they’ll outcompete weeds or lawn. We’ve never fertilized them and they only get watered in well once, but we have so much food we’re sharing it with local soup kitchens.
The Only Downside
The only downside is that they don’t like hot weather. They grow beautifully until it starts to hit about 85 on a regular basis, and then they die back. If you’ve let them go to seed, though, you’ll have baby daikon radishes popping up all over your yard next spring. (I always try and save those seed so I’m getting what’s self-selecting most effectively in my microclimate.)
Please two packages of seeds (total) per order. It’s time-consuming to collect, package and mail them, even though we really want more people growing food for themselves, caterpillars and butterflies (or write firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us why you need more).