Radish (Raphanus sativus)
Radish (Raphanus sativus), which is related to turnip and mustard, is a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. Radishes come in a wide variety of colours, sizes and shapes as well as varying levels of spice.
The radish was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. Citizens of Oaxaca, Mexico, have a festival called Noche de los Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) on December 23 where locals carve religious and popular figures out of radishes and display them in the town square.
The entire plant is edible including the leaves. The root is usually eaten raw but can also be steamed and roasted, and the leaves can be used in salads or soups, even added to
homemade juices. The seed pods are the best part of radishes and are becoming more popular with foodies. The pods can be steamed or eaten raw in salads for a truly delightful, crisy crunchy burst of green taste!
Growing naturally: Radishes are very hardy and vigorous and can compete very well with smaller weeds, in fact, you can use radishes as a cover crop under other crops. Radishes generally mature quickly and can be ready in just a few weeks; be sure to harvest them before they get “corky”, to preserve that fresh crunchy texture and keep the hottness to a reasonable level – oh yes, radishes can become very spicy indeed! Radishes will bolt in warmer weather and once they do focus on harvesting the seed pods not the radishes themselves, as they will have gone corky. Radishes do best in lighter soils that drain well and don’t contain high amounts of nitrogen, which can cause them the grow too much leafy top growth and direct less energy to the roots, in turn attracting non-beneficial insects to the plants to feast on all the tender greenery. It’s easy to damage your radishes when weeding around them – a mulch of straw helps reduce the need to weed although it can attract worms that leave unsightly shallow tunnels across the surface of the radish. The roots often split open if the plant becomes too thirsty then gets a sudden soaking, so try to moderate the peaks and valleys of water applications.