I can’t recommend growing radishes enough. Not only are they ever so more spiky and peppery when homegrown, they could possibly be the easiest veg to grow. The seeds are big, so easy to handle, and from my experience, they’re not at all fussy about soil. I often sow a batch wherever I have an odd bit of space, and I rarely dig the area over properly.
Plus, Radishes will germinate at just 5oC, making them great for early season sowing, and they’re not averse to some shade either.
Radishes grow fast too. I remember analysing the Real Men Sow Moneysaving Spreadsheet, and spotting that radishes I’d sown in late April had been harvested before the end of May.
Because of their brisk growing speed, one of the plotholders near me grows them as a ‘catch crop’, in between slower veg. The radishes can be harvested well before the other plant is properly established. I’ve nabbed this idea and now sow a crop of radishes in between my winter brassicas.
This works well as the brassicas grow leisurely, and the radish doesn’t mind the shade the bigger plants create.
I went off growing the traditional varieties, such as French Breakfast, as I find they grew big and woody quite quickly. I love the sweeter, spherical varieties, such as Globe and Sparkler as they’re not as prone to this. They’re also attractive little things to look at, with a beautiful cherry colouring.
In fact, you can find radishes in all sorts of colours. I’ve grown the purple Hilds Blauer Herbst un Winter (which I think is German for Blue Autumn and Winter), and there are even gold and white varieties available.
Watch Out for Slugs
The only problem is that the slugs seem to like the spherical radishes as much as me. Last year, I noticed nibbles on the flesh of the radishes (pictured), but couldn’t work out what might be munching on my crop. During a pre-bedtime torchlight inspection of the plot, I found a little slug helping himself. I was surprised at this, if I was a slug I couldn’t imagine radishes being my grub of choice.
Radish on Toast!
My favourite thing to do with a nice big radish is to slice it up, and mix with a handful of chives and a generous dollop of cream cheese, and spread on to toast.
This makes a very tasty and swift lunch, perfectly in keeping with the rapid radish.