RadishesRadishes

The humble Radish is an incredibly easy vegetable to grow, as they tolerate most soil types and are quick to crop (usually within three weeks). They're delicious eaten raw, offering a fiery burst of flavour to salads. There's a wide variety of cultivars to choose from too, ranging from near spherical red-and-white roots, to long, thin white radishes, also known as mooli.

Radish 

Because radishes are so quick to crop, don't sow all the seeds in one go, but at weekly intervals, for a successional crop through summer.  A member of the cruciferous family, which also include Brussels Sprouts, cabbages, and cauliflowers and as such contain sulphurous componds which have been linked to protection from certain types of cancer.

Benefits of the Radish

Drawback

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  Sowing
  Growing
  Harvesting
  Varieties
  Problems
Sowing Radish

Radish Seedlings GrowingRadish Seedlings Growing

When to sow

Summer Radish

  • Sow Indoors: January & February
  • Sow Under Cover: March
  • Sow Outdoors: April to September

Winter Radish

  • Sow Ourdoors: July & August

How to Sow Radishes.

  • Sow March through to September in a well prepared bed of fine tilth.
  • Sowings should be made about 2.5cm (1 inch) apart and 1cm (1/2in) deep to avoid the need to thin out.
  • Should you need to thin seedlings out this should be done as soon as possible.
  • Winter cultivars should be thinned to 15cm (6in) apart.
  • Keep the soil moist to ensure rapid growth, and to keep the roots fleshy and tasty & prevent splitting.

Because radishes are quick to mature they can be used as a 'catch crop' being sown between rows of slower-growing vegetables such as peas and potatoes.  A clever idea is to use the radish as a ediable crop marker for slow-germinating crops, such as parsnips and onion as the radish germinate quickly, marking out the row where other crops have been sown and can be pulled before interence with the main crop.  

 

Growing Radish

Radish Seedlings GrowingRadish Seedlings Growing

Sowing Summer Radish

 

1. Prepare the bed before sowing on a dry day. Break down any large clumps using the back of a fork, and remove any weeds and rake the soil to a fine tilth. Remove lumps of earth and large stones that will hinder the progress of emerging seedlings  Preparing the seed bed

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2. Create a drill using a trowel and a line and reel, or attach a length of string to a cane at either end of the row. Space the seeds according to the instructions on the packet. Sow them individually, rather than pouring directly from the packet.  Preparing the seed bed    

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3. Lightly cover the seeds with soil and water well using a watering can with the rose attached. Continue watering on a weekly basis if conditions are dry.  Watering the sown seeds     

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4. Seeds should germinate within 10 days. Thin them out once they're big enough to handle, leaving 2.5cm between plants. Remove any weeds, which compete with the radishes for water and nutrients, by removing them individually or hoeing between the rows.  Thin out seeds carefully    

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5. Radishes are best eaten when young - if left in the ground they develop a woody texture and bitter flavour. They're usually ready after four weeks. Scrape away the top layer of soil before you harvest. If the radish is roughly 2cm in diameter, gently pull it from the soil.

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Harvesting Radishes

Harvesting Radishes & Winter RadishHarvesting Radishes & Winter Radish

Harvesting Radishes

Tips for Harvesting

  • Radishes need to be grown steadily and harvested young to ensure they remain succulent, otherwise they can become woody and inedible.
  • Pull summer radishes as required, making sure they are never left to mature and become woody.
  • Winter cultivars can be left in the ground and dug up as required, or lifted in November and stored.

 

Radish Varieties

 

Great Radishes to try

  • Cherry Belle Radish
    • Cherry shaped and cherry coloured. Pure crisp white flesh which is slow to go pithy and woody. Mild flavour.
  • French Breakfast Radish
    • One of the most famous varieties but I have yet to see it eaten first thing in the morning in France. Long roots of red with a white tip.
  • Mooli Radish
    • Japanese type giving long white roots with crisp flesh. Use peeled and sliced in salads or added to stir-fry cooking.
  • Munchen Bier Radish
  • Grown for seed pods. Plants should be about 6-8cm apart. Quickly goes up to flower and produce seed pods which should be used when green and crisp and can be snapped easily. Raw in salads or in a stir-fry. Spicy flavour.
  • Red Meat Radish
    • Quite large round roots with red topped white skin and delightful deep rose coloured flesh. Ideal for slicing for both fresh or stir fry use.
  • Scarlet Globe Radish
    • Good traditional variety giving lovely round roots of bright red. Suitable for early cropping under cloches.
  • Sparkler Radish
    • Attractive on a salad plate, bright red round roots with a white tip. Mild flavour and crisp flesh.
  • Summer Crunch Radish
    • Our own introduction, semi-long stump ended roots with deep pink skin with pure white tip and flesh. Sweet flavour and crisp texture.
  • Tarzan Radish
    • Excellent variety for autumn or under cover in early spring. it quickly forms roots which are very uniform. The nice, round radishes are a deep, rich red colour and keep well. Also very high yielding.
      Sowing December-March or September-October.
  • Black Spanish Long Radish
    • Long tapered roots with dark brown skin and pure white flesh. Can be left in the ground and harvested in winter or stored in dry sand in frost free shed.
  • Black Spanish Round Radish
    • The round counterpart to the above. Both have crisp tasty flesh which can be sliced or grated for use in winter salads.
  • China Rose Radish
    • Medium large oblong shaped roots with rose pink skin and pure white flesh. Can be harvested in autumn and stored in dry sand in frost free conditions.

Problems Growing Radishes

Flea Bettle Close UpFlea Bettle Close Up

The Flea Beetle

Attacks by flea beetle cause lots of tiny holes in the leaves.

Remedy:

The damage is only superficial, so usually not worth worrying about. If it is a particular problem in your garden you can cover the seedlings with horticultural fleece.

Slugs and SnailsSlugs and Snails

Slugs and snails:

Feed on the young seedlings. You’ll see the tell-tale slime trail of slugs and snails on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.

Remedy:

There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers and copper tape. Slug pellets of powders based on aluminium sulphate or ferric phosphate are less toxic for wildlife.

Brassica Downy MildewBrassica Downy Mildew

Brassica Downy Mildew:

This is a common disease of brassicas, but less so on radishes, as they are not in the ground so long. The leaves will turn yellow, with white, fuzzy patches on the undersides. The radish root may also turn brown.

Remedy:

Remove infected plants as soon as you see them. Don’t plant radishes in the same place as previous brassica crops. There is no chemical control.