Gardening: Radish is both easy to grow and tasty

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According to the weather reports, if we are to believe them, we expect two weeks of sunshine.

Not sure to believe it considering we haven’t had any rain worthy of mention in a while.

You won’t find me complaining about this, even if it does happen. Chasing cabbage white butterflies out of the brassica patch is much easier to dry.

What I’m going to do regardless of the lack of moisture is do what I always do at this time of year and plant a few rows of radishes.

I know, I know, the radish is hardly glamorous and makes you think of the soft egg salads of the 1970s. What were they thinking?

I am often found in the garden overthinking why radish is not as popular as you might think given that it is incredibly easy to grow and tasty.

Some gardeners treat it with such disrespect that they use the quick-germinating leaves to mark where other crops or flowers have been sown before weeding them in favor of the more important crop.

The fact that they have a peppery kick that is not at all close to the Scoville scale adds to their appeal in a green salad.

There is even a variety to suggest that the French eat them for breakfast (French breakfast radish) although I have never served one alongside my croissants.

Planting them at this time of year is a tip for extending the summer planting season.

They will hopefully be ready for harvest in four to six weeks and will love the sun and shouldn’t get too wet.

They are not fans of wet soils but will thrive in a little humidity.

They are in botanical terms a brassica so cannot be grown in the same place consecutively.

They will never disappoint you with sprouting as long as they have a drink every now and then.

Make a shallow drill in a weed-free site – you can do it with your finger, it’s that easy.

You can place them one by one where you want or sprinkle them in the drill to thin them out where you need them as they put their heads above the ground.

Once they’re covered, your job is to water them now once a week if it’s not raining and keep them weed-free.

Remarkably, germination will occur within a week, making them perfect for introducing children to growth as the results are almost immediate.

Well, definitely in terms of gardening it’s as instant as it gets.

All of this can be done quickly by hand with no tools required.

You can sow a different planter every two weeks until the end of September when it’s a bit cold for them and you’ll probably be focusing on the bigger winter vegetables by then anyway.

When it’s time to thin them out, give them about six inches (or half a school ruler) between each radish to make sure they steal nutrients from each other and become the firm, fiery pink cylinders that we want in our salad.

The other varieties on the list to plant now are China Rose, Ilka, Stela and Mirabeau. All of these have a peppery flavor and a decent crunch that will make a difference in any salad you might have this time of year.

I think we’re so used to homogeneous salads from supermarkets that we’ve forgotten about the old-fashioned radish.

Guaranteed if it started popping up in trendy restaurant salads, and there’s no reason it wouldn’t, we’d all be going crazy for it.

Can you imagine if this were to show up in the salads available in burger chains.

With the current supply issues, you could get a head start by planting a radish or two.


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