Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What about a radish?

A radish is a root crop best grown in cool weather. They are a popular vegetable in Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

Since they are a shallow rooted crop they can be grown in containers and started about 4-6 weeks before the last frost. They can tolerate some frost. It is best to plant the seed directly in the ground at about half an inch deep and thin later to 2 to 3 inches. Though radishes tolerate a wide variety of soils, it is best to add compost to build better soil structure whether sand or clay. Use fertilizers low in nitrogen and use only one application of fertilizer.

Radishes will germinate quickly between 3 to 10 days. And they will mature quickly from about 20 days to 40 days. If you like a lot of radishes stagger the crop, to have several over the cool season.

Nutritionally, radishes have vitamin C and K as well as riboflavin and B6. They also contain high levels of copper, manganese and potassium.

So what can stand between you and a really good radish is hot weather. Air temperatures over 75 turn radishes pithy and they go to seed. They are tolerant of shade and need about 6 hours of sun. So if you live in a really hot climate like Colorado where winter often goes directly into summer with no spring, radishes would not mind some afternoon shade. Like most other vegetables, they need an inch of water per week.

For those who really love radishes, there are spring as well as winter radishes. Winter radishes can be planted in mid to late summer with a spacing of 2 to 3 inches apart. They grow slower and come in different colors like black, green and white rather than the pink, red, purple or white of the spring radish.

Radishes can be enjoyed in different salads such as oriental salads. For a quick salad recipe go to Cooks.com and try the couscous salad with radishes. Or marinate your radish. Don't forget the tops of the radishes are edible, too.

So before the season gets away from you, go and plant your radishes.