In Praise Of The Humble Radish

If you haven’t grown fresh radish then you haven’t tasted them at there best, quite simply radish loose their crunch very quickly and as they take up very little space and must be the easiest salad to grow, you really should find space for the humble radish.

They are best recognised as the small red globes we are all familiar with, but you may not know that they come in white, violet, yellow, pink and elongated – all have a mild peppery taste and heat. As long as they are never allowed to dry out they will grow in as little as 3 weeks.

To give me a spread of radish available for the table I tend to mix 3 or 4 varieties in one packet and sow at ten day intervals.

My favourite varieties and the one which I tend to grow are:

Zlata – which is yellow and round

French Breakfast 3 – which is red/white and elongated

De 18 Jours – a red/white radish which is elongated

Red Top Radish – a red radish which quite round

Amethyst –  and you have guessed it from its name is violet in colour and round

Sowing them is simplicity itself you just draw a shallow drill across your bed, about 2cms deep, water along the drill then sow thinly along drill.  You want to have your drills about 30 cms apart.  Germination should be 4/7 days and they are not fussy as to soil type, which is a bonus!

Thin as they grow –  the thinnings make a great peppery addition to salad bowls and they are a super catch crop because of the speed they grow and they don’t take up room in your beds for long periods. This also means they are a useful marker crop for slow germinating seed, classically parsnips where they are sown along the same drill to mark the rows to allow weeding while the notoriously slow parsnips germinate.

They are also ideal in a large pot on the patio – as long as their not in full sun and its a great way to introduce children to growing food to eat as they germinate so easily.  Just broadcast onto pot, cover with 2cms of compost and thin to allow 5 cms between plants.

Don’t let them get to big as they get woody!

Without the best way to eat them is as a hors d’oeuvres  dipped in mayonnaise or salt

Our never reach the table as they eaten in the kitchen while we cook, the only other accompaniment is a cold glass of rose (or two).

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