Any vegetable with a tang, like radishes, makes such a delicious, colourful and crunchy addition to leafy-green salads.
While radishes do far better in the cooler months, they can be grown throughout the year. In summer it’s a good idea to use mulch to keep the roots cool, while in cold winters radishes will need full sun. Should that not be possible, grow the radishes in a container that can be kept in a sheltered, sunny place.
Did you know?
Radishes are the ultimate slimming vegetable because they contain lots of fibre, vitamin C and potassium, and almost no calories.
This recipe for radish tzatziki is a great way to eat them, or keep it simple by slicing them up and adding them to a green salad.
The French like to eat radishes thinly sliced, sprinkled with sea salt and served on top of a slice of crusty bread spread with good-quality butter. It might negate the humble radish’s low-cal properties, but it’s worth it!
Try something different!
Radish ‘Sparkler’ (scarlet with white tip) and ‘Cherry Belle’ are easily available picture-packet varieties, but not all radishes are red and round. Heirloom seed suppliers generally have stock of ‘Purple Plum’, ’White Icicle’, ‘Hailstone’ (white), ‘Spanish Black’ and ‘Easter Egg’ (a mix of colours) as well as ‘China Rose’, which is an old heirloom variety dating back to the 1840s that is thought to have descended from the wild Asian radish. ‘Spanish Black’ grows to turnip size and is more for medicinal use, to stimulate the production of bile and aid digestion.
Repeat sowing every 2 to 3 weeks for a continued supply of this crunchy vegetable. The flavour should improve as the temperatures drop.
Harvesting and storing radishes
Pull out the radishes when you see the top of the radish starting to push out of the soil. If they are left too long they become woody and unpleasantly pungent. If you plan to store radishes, remove the tops before refrigerating. This keeps them crisp and fresh.
What if radishes develop leaves without roots?
In summer the cause is usually hot weather, which encourages the plant to bolt and try to set seed. In winter the cause could be too little sunlight. They need several hours of direct sunlight for the roots to develop. It could also be that plants have not been thinned out, which can also stunt root development.