Monday, March 29, 2010

Some thoughts about the radish

Some radish sprouts in the garden

When spring comes around all any gardener wants to see is plants growing as quickly as possible. There is one simple solution to this, RADISHES! Where to begin talking about radishes? How about variety, I am planting four different radishes in my garden, Cherry bell, French breakfast, White icicle, and Watermelon (they are green skinned with red flesh), but the list of varieties is much longer. One seed company I buy from, Pinetree Garden Seeds, lists 14 varieties, and there are some types that are used buy farmers like a green manure and left to over winter in fields then plowed under in the spring.  Red round radishes are by far the most popular, and their flavor is what most people think a radish should taste like, but this is one vegetable that you can expirement with.   So once you have decided what you want to plant get started in Spring as early as you can work the soil. I have found that radishes will grow in just about any soil but remember rocks and heavy clay will disrupt the growth of the root, so once you have prepared your bed plant seeds 1/2 an inch deep and about 1-3 inches apart, this will give each enough room to grow with minimal thinning (when thining is necessary don't toss the sprouts eat them, just put them in your next salad). With good weather you will see sprouts in about a week or two and within a month you will have a crop ready to harvest. Using a succesive planting schedule of a new planting every two weeks you will have a continuous harvest until early summer. You can then plan on another planting and harvest for the fall in late July or early August. Now I am sure you are asking yourself , "what do I do with all these radishes?", well fear not here is a list of recipies my wife, Mama G, found to try this year...
Radish Top Soup
Radish, Butter, and Bread! (We are growing French Breakfast which supposidly get their name because the French eat them on buttered bread for breakfast.)
Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens
Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds
Radish Cakes (Won't be trying this one as most of the ingredients probably haven't made it within 50 miles of where I live ;) )
Braised Radishes

And you thought you could just use radishes raw!

But wait theres more to know about radishes!  Not only are they easy to grow and delicious they are good for you.  Radishes are an excelent source of vitamine C, and have been reported to aid in the treatment of many common ailments. Here is an article I found online describing the health benifits of radishes.

So when you are planning your garden this year don't forget the noble radish.