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RADISH

The radish is one of those vegetables that constantly surprises as you begin to explore the heirloom varieties available to the home grower. Rainbow, watermelon, white icicle, rat’s tail, purple plum … the list of fanciful names and unusually shaped, coloured and textured varieties makes the radish the tomato of the root world.

The ultimate confidence booster, the radish is the perfect introduction to gardening newbies or those who haven’t yet mastered the art. A small-space specialist that gives almost instant gratification, it gets close to top marks in our rating system. And speaking from the perspective of a generation that is often defined by our short attention spans and love for instant gratification, the radish may just be our champion.

Sourcing good quality seed is paramount to your success, so always purchase from a reputable supplier and store excess seed properly – in a cool, dry place. If you want to introduce your kids to the biology of food, grow radish with them. It’s a journey that takes you from sowing to germination and finally to harvesting, sometimes within the space of a month.

PLANTING

Sow the seeds directly into the veggie patch. They are fast and easy to grow, making them the perfect seed for kids to sow.

WATERING

In ground: Water daily for the first 4 weeks and 3-4 times a week in the absence of rainfall thereafter. More frequent watering may be required during the warmer times of the year.

In Pots: Water daily while establishing and for the entirety of the warm season, otherwise every second day – after they are 4 weeks old – if growing during the cooler times of the year.

MAINTENANCE

Add compost and blood and bone for phosphorus. Sow seeds directly to the patch.

After a month thin out seedlings to a spacing of 10–15 cm and mulch using pea straw, lucerne hay or sugar cane mulch to a depth of 3–5cm. For staggered and successive harvest, plant the next batch of seeds now.

After 8 weeks, begin harvesting leaves as salad greens, but make sure to distribute picking among the plants evenly so as not to affect their growth. Beware of snails and slugs leaving holes in your developing roots and act accordingly.

Harvest roots, bracing plant nearby that will remain in-ground for further growth. We prefer to take them when they are young and bitey, as they tend to become aerated and fibrous when left to overcook in the ground.

HARVESTING

Time until first harvest: About 12 weeks

How to harvest: Brace nearby plants and gently wiggle the radish while pulling it from the ground to help release it from the veggie patch. Harvest when they are about the size of a golf ball for best flavour and texture.

TIP

Most of the troubleshooting with radishes begins if they are left to mature too long in the veggie patch. So catch them early before the slugs, and before splitting, which can occur when watering practices are less than ideal.

WHEN TO PLANT

Cool/Mountainous: September - May
Temperate: Anytime
Subtropical: Anytime
Tropical: Anytime

BEST GROWN FROM

Seed

POSITION

Full sun

DEPTH

1 cm

SPACING

5 cm

IDEAL PH LEVEL

6.5–7.0

SOIL

Radishes will grow in most soil types, but prefer a free-draining, friable soil to allow room for easy root growth. Add compost a week prior to planting and feed monthly with seaweed extract

BEST SUITED TO

Pots, wall, in-ground

GROWING IN POTS?

>15cm

POLLINATION

Not required

CHILL FACTOR

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