radishes in a rush

My Rapid Radishes are in a Rush!

Rush radish, rush radish, rush, rush, rush!

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.

Catch Crop
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…

10 thoughts on “My Rapid Radishes are in a Rush!”

  1. I sowed my first ever radishes this past weekend (Sunday), in my newly set up allotment ladder :o) I’m hoping they do well, and are speedy too. I may have to move the allotment ladder, as I don’t think it’s getting much sun where it is at the moment.

    Jono: I only heard of the allotment ladder thanks to you, so a big thank you!

  2. Jono,

    I tried overwintering radish, they made it through the snow with fleece, but when I finally pulled them last month they were woody and tough.

    However, I have sown a second batch last week (speedy) and they have already appeared. I too have planted them between things. One sowing under my bean wigwam and the other lot between the onions.

    as for sowing salad, I’ve run out of space with all the brassicas I have put in… so i have sown in the green house this evening, so hopefully some space will be free before they get too big.

    Keep up the money saving experiment, it’s really interesting to follow your progress.


  3. I struggle to get radishes to grow to a decent size – my always seem to end up looking a bit pathetic next to photos I’ve seen of other people’s, but leaving them in any longer makes them woody. (Unintended willy joke undertones to that sentence!)

    I’ve got a batch in the ground at the moment – perhaps I should just accept their weeniness, harvest them and try again…

  4. I love growing radishes, but then never really know what to do with them. Yeah you can add them to salads, but that’s all I ever thought of to do with them. I’m going to try the cream cheese on toast idea once mine are ready though, so thanks for that!

  5. Hi Jono – silly question but how do you know when to harvest them? I’ve just planted some too, but I’ve just realised I really don’t know when to pick them.

    Any tips for the beginning appreciated!


  6. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Maria – Glad you like the Ladder Allotment. I wouldn’t worry about the shade. Radishes don’t mind a bit of shade. I bought my Ladder Allotment specifically for a shady spot, and I’ve got my salad leaves on it. They’re doing really well. Its lovely to be able to pop out the back door and pick some.

    Richard – I’ve got a packet of Hilds blauer Herbst und Winter that I picked up somewhere. The packet says you can sow in August to lift in November, but I’m wondering if a sowing around September time might overwinter?

    Louisa – It’s funny what different people struggle with. Spring onions are supposed to be dead easy, but I’ve never, ever grown a good one!

    Alan – The toast is really tasty. Good in a sarnie with some lettuce too.

    Lizzie – I normally harvest them when they’re the size of a ping pong ball. I try not to let them get any bigger than that or they can go woody.

    And thanks for your kind words Ronnie!

  7. Hi Jono, Thanks for your email. I can’t reply at the moment as l have problems with my email, hence my reply on here. Have you tried Long White Icicle radish? Blows your head off but take longer to grow. I love ’em!

  8. I’ve been loving pulling radishes from the allotment, helps me cope with all the weeding to come back with something edible. Love the idea of an emergency salad bed, and I am definitely going to have to try the radishes on toast idea. I’m thinking goat’s cheese…

    1. Hey Janet.

      Liking the goats cheese idea – just bought some lovely soft stuff so might try that for lunch. Talking of goat’s cheese, I like to mash it up with boiled broad beans and mint for toast and sarnies. That’s really nice too.

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