Expert Advice on Growing Radishes
The radish is the quickest of vegetables to mature and should be harvested while at the peak of crisp freshness. They are delicious eaten raw, as an appetizer or in salad, and can also be lightly cooked — boiled, steamed or stir-fried.
Radishes are a rewarding crop for first-time gardeners because they show results quickly and are quite easy to grow. You can harvest a regular crop offrom a series of medium-depth, shallow containers with very little toil or trouble, provided that you choose the right varieties for indoor growing. They have good dietary value since they contain iron and other useful nutrients. Radishes are perhaps best eaten fresh, for their crisp texture and lightly peppery flavour. For serving hot, they should be cooked as gently as possible to preserve these qualities and their nutritional value.
Selecting radishes for indoor growing Globe cultivars give the best results in container growing, because globe radishes require less vertical root space than the long tapering types. Cherry Belle has a sweet, mild taste and stays in harvestable condition for a long time without rotting or becoming woody, so if the crop does well you can pull the radishes at your leisure. Red Prince is another good all-red radish, while Sparkler is an attractive red-and-white globe radish which can be recommended.
It is possible to grow the longer types of radish in containers -French Breakfast is a popular choice – but these must be planted in tubs to allow for the deeper rooting, so the crop will occupy a greater space.
Sowing and germination
Radishes like a high proportion of humus in the, which can very easily be provided by crumbling dried, dead leaves between your fingers and working them into the potting mixture. This creates the best medium for raising radishes, but it is not essential: if you do not have the opportunity to provide the leafy material, a satisfactory crop will be obtained by using a peat-based growing medium or adding a little peat to a soil-based mixture. Acid conditions, however, are unsuitable for this crop, so if your potting mixture tends to be acid, apply a small quantity of garden lime to neutralize it or work in some finely-crushed eggshells.
Radishes do not like to grow in compacted or lumpy soil, so before sowing break up and moisten the surface layer of the growing medium and then press it down gently to make an even bed for the seeds.
Radish seeds are spherical and extremely small. It is impossible to space them out as they are sown, but they should be sown as thinly as possible. Moisten the growing medium lightly before sowing and cover the scattered seed with a fine layer of soil.
To obtain a continuous supply, practise succession sowing at three-to-four-week intervals. Radishes can be started at any time for indoor growing. Germination takes about four to seven days.
As theappear, the weaker ones can be pulled to make space for the others to develop. There is no need to waste any space in the containers; lin (2.5cm) between the plants allows room for the globes to expand. If you have opted to grow the larger types of radish, judge the growing space according to the size of the particular variety.
Radishes do not like excessive heat or sun. Position the plants in good light but protected from direct sun, especially during the hottest part of the day in summer. Keep the containers well watered to encourage quick growth and succulent, sweet, mild globes. There is no need to use liquid fertilizers as the crop is fast-maturing. For best results, the radishes must be provided with conditions conducive to rapid growth. If they are held back by low temperatures or lack of moisture, the globes will not form and the plants will ‘bolt’ (run to seed).
Pull the radishes for use as soon as they are ready; if left too long the texture can deteriorate, becoming coarse and woody.