The picture is my Emergency Salad Garden. Here, I’ve planted little rows of beetroot, radish, spring onion and lettuce for those summer days when I haven’t planned an allotment harvest, and just need to be able to grab some salad for dinner.
I put the radish seeds in on May 1st, and already they’re established and growing great guns. They don’t hang around these speedy radishes – this is my second sowing, and I’m already munching on my first.
From Seed to Plate in a Month?
When I was analysing the April entries on the Real Men Sow Moneysaving Spreadsheet, I wondered if there was anything I could plant then that could appear on the May analysis, and it was the romping radish that sprung to mind.
I stuck some Sparkler in on May Day and left the hasty veg to do its business. They germinated within a few days, so with some nice warm weather, I’ll hopefully be including these rapid radishes in this month’s money-saving calculations.
Easy to Grow
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, they’ll germinate at just 5oC, making them great for early season sowing.
I love the perfectly spherical Sparkler as I find it sweeter and less prone to woodiness, but there are a whole host of varieties and fancy colours to experiment with. I’ve seen them in pure white, and I’ve got a packet of purple ones to try this year.
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 also liked Monty Don’s idea in a recent episode of Gardeners World; where he sowed a row of radish in the soil he had used to dig his early potato trench.
My first 272g radish harvest of 2011 saved me 68p. Radishes aren’t in the squash or rhubarb cash-in-the-pocket league, but for something so simple to grow, that’s a saving that’s not to be sniffed at.
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. Makes a lovely swift lunch, perfectly in keeping with the quick-growing radish.
So while I tuck into my first batch of 2011, I’m keeping a firm eye on my new seedlings, and cheering on their dash into May’s spreadsheet. With 20 days left, I reckon they just might make it…