The Rampant Radish

Person Author: Ryan Lewis Calender April 20, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments

Gardeners are known to be patient, forward thinkers and as such, invariably plan ahead. Many crops mature slowly and can take many months to grow from seed to harvest but this isn’t always the case. When we look at salad crops in particular we notice that some of these really are the formula one race cars of the vegetable world.

Radishes are perfect if you seek instant vegetable fuelled gratification, as these peppery little globes are ready, in many cases, only 4-5 weeks after sowing. This speedy turn around makes them the perfect addition to any garden where children are involved or as a starter vegetable for a new gardener.

I can’t recommend growing radishes enough. As with most vegetables, when homegrown they really do have so much more flavour. This flavour is quite peppery and can be great to add heat to salad leaves. This flavour will also intensify or lessen depending on the conditions the plant is growing in. Hot weather will increase the kick of the little radish, whereas cool and wet weather will produce a more mild and rounded flavour.

Sowing seeds couldn’t be easier. The seeds are relatively big, making them easy to sow and space out and this also means that if you’re gardening with children they should find them easy enough to handle. They are not at all fussy about soil and can be grown in whatever space you have available. They make for an excellent catch-crop between rows of larger vegetables and they thrive in containers and window boxes also.

Sow your radish seeds into well-prepared soil or compost from early spring to late summer. Seeds will germinate at cool temperatures meaning that you can sow them in early spring and successively after that. Although unfussy about soil, they will grow best in well drained, moderately rich soil.

Sow seeds about 1 cm deep in drills 15-20 cm apart or broadcast sow if sowing in containers taking care to thin after germination. Seeds will germinate within one week. Thin out the seedlings as necessary to reduce overcrowding and disease. Harvesting couldn’t be easier as the long leaves make for a perfect handle with which to remove the beautiful little roots from the soil. Harvest as soon as the roots are of a reasonable size or as and when they’re needed. Avoid leaving your radishes in the soil for too long as roots can become woody and very hot. Generally, your radishes should be ready for harvest after 4-5 weeks.

Three to try:

Radish Cherry Belle – A beautiful cherry-red radish with crisp, white flesh. Fast maturing with a good resistance to bolting.

Radish French Breakfast – A traditional variety with a long root. This radish has scarlet skin and is mildly flavoured.

Mooli Mino Summer Cross F1 – Japanese radish or mooli produces long roots, which have smooth white skin and white flesh.

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