This extremely fast growing vegetable is available in more varieties than many people realise. Along with the familiar round red radish often used in salads, there are also varieties with pink, yellow or white roots. There are few more attractive plants to see in the ornamental kitchen garden than a neat row of ruby red radishes peeping out from the soil!
In fact, in ancient Greece, radishes were so highly regarded that gold replicas were made of them. The Greek name for the radish, Raphamus, means "quickly appearing," which perfectly describes their reputation for being the first vegetable to sprout in a spring garden.
Where to grow
Radishes will grow in most soils, but thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter and is moisture retentive. Dig in plenty of garden compost before sowing if the ground has not been previously manured.
Choose an open sunny site, although radishes can cope with dappled shade in the height of summer which makes them ideal for intercropping at this time.
Summer crops can be started by sowing outside under cloches in late winter and early spring. Sow thinly 1 cm deep with 15cm between rows and thin as plants develop.
Successional sowing is important to prevent a glut - small rows every 2 weeks will give you a good continuous supply.
Keep well watered and weed free - radishes are a very easy crop to care for!
Harvesting and Storage
Pick radishes before they get too old and woody. Select the larger roots first and leave the rest of the crop to grow. Late crops can be covered with straw to protect them from the cold or kept under a fleece cloche.
Radish Pests and Diseases
Radishes are related to cabbages and so prone to the same pests and diseases. Flea Beetle and slugs are normally the main issue.
On the plus side radishes are also good at deterring cucumber beetle so a great companion plant for cucumbers.