Every spring, I look forward to growing radish. They mature rapidly, in approximately 4-5 weeks, making them an ideal veggie for impatient gardeners. They’re also incredibly easy to grow, making it a great veggie for new gardeners. Radishes are the perfect accompaniment to our salads in spring which can sometimes be quite bare without cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes which normally only start to produce from January onwards.
This year, I decided to sow radish in buckets because I’m a little short on ground space at the moment. I remember reading in a New Zealand Gardener magazine that it’s possible to grow radish successfully in containers, provided that there is sufficient depth. Over the past few years, I have managed to grow carrots in containers successfully, so I thought it was time I gave radish a try. Over the weekend, I sowed the varieties “French Breakfast” (McGregors) and Cabernet F1 (Egmont Seeds) into two 35 litre plastic buckets. These containers had previously housed carrots sown in April, which I finished harvesting last week. I re-used the old potting mix, adding a little Yates Thrive Natural Blood and Bone fertiliser, as well as some superphosphate to encourage strong root growth.
Like all root crops, radish is best sown direct, whether in a container or in the ground. Although it is possible to purchase radish plants (Awapuni sell them), they are so simple to grow from seed. Starting seedlings from seed is so much more gratifying than planting punnets of plants!
Like lettuce, I’m intending to sow radish at regular intervals to ensure a continuous supply during spring. Every fortnight or so, I’ll sow another round. This year, I’m also going to grow “Fire Candle”, “Gourmet Blend”, “Scarlet Finger” and Halloween Mix” from Kings Seeds, as well as “Red Globe” from McGregors. I also have a packet of “Salad Crunch” from Yates, which I’ll sow as well.
Probably my all time favourite radish is the yellow variety “Zlata” from Franchi seeds (distributed by Italian Seeds Pronto in New Zealand), which is unfortunately no longer available. I grew this variety a few seasons ago and it was the sweetest radish I’ve ever eaten. Needless to say, I really regret not saving seeds from my plants. Fortunately, the Golden Line radish mix in the Franchi range contains Zlata, so I’m going to purchase a packet from Italian Seeds Pronto which I’ll sow next month.
If you’re new to gardening, you might want to try using a seed tape. Last year, I sowed “Red Rubin” radish seed tape from the Yates range. It made seed sowing incredibly easy, as the seeds are already spaced out on biodegradable paper. All you have to do is bury the seed tape in the ground and wait for the seeds to germinate. You can also get seed tapes for other veggies, including carrots, beetroot, spring onions and parsnips.
I will provide an update on progress regarding my radish experiment in a few weeks. Fingers crossed I can grow them successfully in containers! Since my radishes haven’t germinated yet and there isn’t much to see except a plastic container with some old potting mixture, I’ve attached a photo of part of the garden in its current state, as promised yesterday.