Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Growing Radish

  • The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. 
  • They are grown and consumed throughout the world. 
  • Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, colour and duration of required cultivation time. 
  • There are some radishes that are grown for their seeds; oilseed radishes are grown, as the name implies, for oil production.
  • Summer radishes mature rapidly, with many varieties germinating in 3–7 days, and reaching maturity in three to four weeks.
  • A common garden crop in Europe and the U.S.A., the fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens.
  • They are in season from April to June and from October to January in most parts of North America; in Europe and Japan they are available year-round due to the plurality of varieties grown.
  • Winter radish varieties produce large roots which may be round or elongated and white, red or black. They require a long season for full growth. 
  • The roots may be eaten raw with vinegar or cooked like turnips. 
  • The flavour of winter radishes is usually pungent and the texture move fibrous and less crisp than common garden radishes.
  • Soil conditions for radish are simple; a very well-dug soil to a depth of 15cm (6in) with no stones or fresh compost in it. 
  • Radishes grow best in full sun and light, sandy loams with pH 6.5–7.0.
  • At the time of digging, add two handfuls of bonemeal per square metre (yard) and work it into the topsoil. 
  • The soil preparation should ideally be complete a month before sowing, but it makes very little difference if it is done at sowing time.
  • Radishes like sun, but at the same time like cool conditions. If they are grown in full sun during the summer, they will run to seed or bolt very quickly. For this reason they are ideally suited to as a growing companion to other vegetables such as peas or beans. 
  • Soils that form a hard crust can impair growth.
  • Radishes do not transplant well, and so should be sown directly in the final seedbed.
  • Radishes should be sown two to three seeds per 2.5 cm (inch) and thinned when they are about 5cm (2 in) tall to a spacing of 2.5cm (inch) apart.
  • The depth at which seeds are planted affects the size of the root, from 1 cm (0.4 in) deep recommended for small radishes to 4 cm (1.6 in) for large radishes.
  • Sow small amounts of radish seed but often to ensure a continuous supply rather than a glut at one time; radishes do not keep well in the soil once they are mature. 
  • For summer varieties, begin sowing in mid-April and continue at three week intervals to September. Where cloche protection is available, sowing can commence in March.
  • Thin plants to a spacing of 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart when plants first emerge. 
  • Your radish plants require almost no attention once past the seedling stage - their main requirement is a reasonable supply of water and weed removal. 
  • As with other root crops, tilling the soil helps the roots grow. However, radishes are used in no-till farming to help reverse compaction.
  • Do not apply any additional fertiliser to summer or winter radishes, their needs are minimal. 
  • Sometimes birds take a liking to to radish seedlings, however once past the seedling stage, they leave them alone.
  • Summer radishes should be harvested when they are crisp and young, normally about five weeks after sowing - consult the seed packet. 
  • If they are left in the ground past maturity they will go peppery and the texture will quickly loose its crispness. 
  • If you have too many at any one, give them to friends because they do not freeze well and will only last five days or so in the fridge.
  • The larger winter radish plant takes about 3 to 4 months to mature, but they have been bred to remain in good condition left in the soil for another three or four weeks past maturity. Alternatively, they can be harvested, placed in sand and kept in a cool dark place for a month or so.

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