It’s amazing how fast radishes grow. This YouTube video brilliantly captures the germination and sprouting process. The camera was set to take one frame every 14 minutes, 24 seconds over 9 days.
The seedlings pictured in the previous photo have gone to the great vegetable patch in the sky after being dug up by one of the animals in the neighbourhood. Luckily I planted two rows.
I have been so concerned with finding ways to discourage animals from the radish patch that I neglected the next crucial stage in seed growing – thinning the seedlings out.
My efforts on the animal-front seem to have been quite successful though.
How to Get Animals Off the Vegetable Patch
First I put down some twigs, which worked fairly well, although some of the radishes still got dug up – and while less pooh appeared after that, I did notice a few poohs of both the fox and dog variety (the things you learn growing up in the country!).
My next plan of action was to put down some used, dried tea bags each with several drops of Olbas oil. I was given this tip by my mum who took it from a calendar.
I don’t think I’ve seen any excrement since I put the tea bags down. I do have to refresh the Olbas oil every now and then, but at around £2 from my local supermarket, this is cheaper than any ‘Dog Away’ type products you can get in the garden centre – and hopefully it’s more gentle on the ground.
Since I took this photo, I have thinned out the weedier plants to give the stronger ones more space to grow – I hope it’s not too late . . .
Radishes are more versatile than most of us give them credit for. Granted, they are lovely in a fresh salad, but I think it’s time to give the radish a new image.
In anticipation of harvesting my first crop of radishes in a couple of weeks’ time, here are some recipes that make more use of these little red balls of fire.
From radish dips, sandwiches and chips to curries, tarts and a pasta dish, there are lots of things to try.
A zesty, peppery relish you can add to any meal from bread and cheese to a lamb or fish dish. (From bbc.co.uk)
A simple to cook and tasty alternative to the usual salad with noodles and soy sauce. (From bbc.co.uk)
Ingredients, including parsley, pine nuts, apples and sesame seeds, make this a flavoursome, healthy lunch or side dish. (From bbcgoodfood.com)
Serve chilled with hot and spicy dishes or use as a dip for raw veggies, chips or crisps. (From Channel4.com)
Or in other words . . . radish sandwich! One from the ‘why didn’t I think of that before’ box. (From whatscookingamerica.net)
If you love strong flavours and food that’s fresh and clean on the palate, try this salad. Ideal as a garnish for fish. (From epicurious.com)
Spicy coated radish chips ready in 15 minutes. Eat them alone as a snack or as an accompaniment to a rice meal. (From caloriecount.about.com)
8• Radish Curry
Radishes sautéed with onions, garlic and chili, inspired by the Kerala style of cooking. (From Salt and Pepper)
9• Radish Tart
Creamy, cheesy, radishness, baked in a pastry base. (From en.wikibooks.org)
A new twist on coleslaw with zingy salsa and a healthy pasta dish full of flavour. (From globalgourmet.com)
Thirteen days after planting, my radish seeds have germinated, despite the threat of being dug up by the cats and dogs of the neighbourhood.
My seedlings have pairs of lush green heart-shaped leaves, which look a bit like mustard (from ‘mustard and cress’ fame) and there’s a good reason for this. The radish plant is closely related to mustard and they both belong to the brassica family of vegetables, which includes cabbage, turnips and broccoli.
The Radish in History
Radishes were first grown in China thousands of years ago, then in Egypt where ancient writings have shown they were cultivated before the building of the pyramids.
In Ancient Greece the radish was so revered that gold replicas were made and offered to the god Apollo, who it seems was a very busy god responsible for a number of facets of life, including medicine and healing.
The radish found its way to England in the mid 16th century and into Shakespeare’s Henry IV shortly after – ‘. . . when a’ was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish, with a head fantastically carved upon it with a knife.’ (King Henry IV. Part II. Act iii. Sc. 2.)
After I planted my seeds I found some very precise radish planting instructions from the Texan Department of Horticultural Sciences. Their method would require more land than I have got, but then I found the Cambridge Science and Plants for Schools website, which really does prove that you can grow radishes in the smallest space. They have step-by-step instructions on growing radishes in film canisters (although by picture 5, it looks like the canister has grown to the size of a baked bean can).
Radish Seedlings and Sprouts
Radish seeds don’t have to be planted, they can be grown in a sprouter and eaten just as you would eat mustard and cress or any other sprouted bean or seed.
As some of my seedlings have come up bunched together in what would be a good sprouting stage, I pull a few out and decide to give them a taste test.
They have a warming, peppery taste with a subtle flavour of (surprise, surprise) radish! I think they would be great for perking up cheese or egg sandwiches, or as a topping for salads and soups.
So what nutrients does this humble salad veg have . . .
Radishes are a very good source of fibre, vitamin C, folic acid and potassium, and a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. Other nutrients, including iron, are also found, but in lesser quantities.
Radishes are also mildly anti-inflammatory, which is another good thing. A diet containing anti-inflammatory foods can help to control inflammation in the body, which is an underlying factor of so many allergies and illnesses.
In a few weeks’ time (fingers crossed), my radishes will be fully grown and I can’t wait to see what they taste like fresh from the soil. I had better go and water them now . . .
A couple of weeks ago I reclaimed some planting space in my small garden when a tree fell over due to the weight of snow. Excited at the prospect of growing some food, I headed to the garden centre and returned with packets of radish, carrot, lettuce and chive seeds in my grubby paws.
A New Attempt to Grow My Own
I haven’t had much luck with seeds in the past. I think I’ve gone wrong by planting the seeds too low and not watering them enough.
Determined to do the right thing this time, I got out some tools and started to break up the soil, only to unearth poop upon poop of cat excrement with fresh dollops of dog poop on top.
How disappointing – my tiny patch of land appears to be the local pet potty. My seeds will have no chance of survival if I put them in only to be dug up by poopers.
Remembering Not to Plant Too Low
Disheartened, I replanted some spiky plants that were overgrowing round the front into the potty area, and planted some seeds in the patches in between.
Remembering not to plant the seeds too low, I dragged the tip of a cane in the soil to form a little trench about half-an-inch deep, sprinkled in the seeds and covered them up.
‘Animals Like Soft Soil on Their Bottoms’
At this point I phoned my parents who suggested covering the seeded areas with twigs as ‘animals like soft soil on their bottoms’ and wouldn’t like the feeling of the twigs.
Twigs duly placed I got out the watering can and gave the seeds their first soak.
How Long Will the Seeds Take to Grow?
Now . . . I don’t have high hopes for my seeds at the moment. I will be so excited if they germinate and if they grow into anything edible it will be a miracle!
If anything grows, the radishes will be the first to appear. They take 3–6 weeks to grow. The lettuces may appear in 9–11 weeks and the carrots in 12–14 weeks.
I won’t be inviting anyone around for salad just yet, but keep your fingers crossed for me and watch this space!