Radishes are one of the quickest crops to grow, taking just 3 to 4 weeks from the point of sowing. One of my favourites is a classic red and round type called ‘Cherry Belle’ whilst a long one with white-tipped roots is ‘French Breakfast’.
Radishes are also one of the easiest to grow and the seeds can be sown in spare patch of soil or often between other crops which are much slower growing. So just use radish to fill in the gaps in the veg bed for a quick and tasty harvest. Swedes and parsnips are common favourites because they are picked long before any other crop takes their space. You can also grow them in containers. With successive sowings you can enjoy them for much of the year.
The radish is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Sowing Radish Seeds
- The seeds are usually sown individually or at least thinly and usually 2cm (3/4in.) apart. Sow seeds to 1cm deep in drills. Allow about 15 to 20cm between rows for roots to grow to their desired size. Always sow direct into the ground which is well-drained, fertile and finely prepared. They grow best in rich, free-draining earth.
- If they are sown little and often from February onwards, then a steady supply of these slightly peppery roots is available throughout the year. The end date for sowing is traditionally the end of September. I usually sow a batch every two weeks into ground which I’ve watered well before hand and then left for an hour so that it drains away. This keeps the soil cool and moist for the seeds to start off in. It takes between 7 and 10 days for seedlings to appear. Only thin seedlings when they become overcrowded. Thin to 3 to 5cm apart when these have developed. With large sowings, some seedlings need to be removed to allow space for the roots to swell.
An alternative approach is to sow into containers when outdoor space is in short supply. Treat as if it is like a direct sowing into open ground.
The ground must be kept free of weeds and water in very hot, dry weather as the roots can become tough and woody. If they are left, they become not only chewy but eye-wateringly hot. Ensure watering is regular and always thorough so that the crop grows regularly.
You can harvest radishes about 21 days after sowing (i.e. within a month of sowing) between April and October.
Radishes taste best best when harvested young. Pull as required. The biggest roots are lifted first with the remainder allowed to grow on.
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Bright Lights. Purchase seeds from Mr Fothergills.
Cherry Belle. A small, sweet variety which is fast-growing. Simple to grow and can be sown for much of the year. Purchase seeds from Premier Seeds Direct.
Saxa. Purchase seeds from Premier Seeds Direct.
Scarlet Globe. Purchase seeds from Mr Fothergills.
Sparkler 3. An RHS AGM winner. A globe variety which has a crisp texture. Produces a good yield. Purchase seeds from Mr Fothergills.