When I decided to focus on radishes for this week's Saturday Spotlight that links up with Liz at Suburban Tomato, I started searching for a decent photo of them. Apart from one that I'd happened to take this week for my series on dashes of red in the garden, they have barely rated a mention in my photo archive in the past year. It made me realise that although they are a constant in the garden, being planted and harvested continually all year around, they are perhaps somewhat taken for granted.
There are a few types grown in the Country Garden, the traditional round red, the French Breakfast and the multi-coloured Easter Egg varieties, depending on which packet of seeds happen to be picked up when it's time for another batch. We grow them in the polystyrene boxes close to the kitchen, usually about three boxes at a time, planting probably too thickly but then thinning out by eating them as they grow. By doing this they hardly ever seem to reach the proportions that you see at the market, but they are crunchy and zingy, full of peppery flavour.
The only pest that appears to be a problem are slugs, who regularly get stuck into them if we don't pick the radishes first, adding to the temptation to eat them young. The slugs nibble around the tops of them above ground. If I wanted to hold off eating them until they were larger I'd probably sprinkle coffee grounds around the boxes, which I think would work. But as the radishes grow I've found that they often split and can become a bit woody inside, so eating them young and replanting regularly seems to be a good solution.
My friend E grows black radishes in her community garden plot. I'm not sure if they are the same family as the red ones, as both the radishes and the plants grow much bigger, but I have some seeds that we saved from her garden, so I'm looking forward to giving them a go. You can see one of them sitting on the edge of the planter in the photo below. The plant is the large one at the rear with the pale mauve flowers.
I love that radishes are so easy and quick to grow. They would be a great vegetable to try for new gardeners. There is a classic way to eat them that I've read about a number of times and tried but I have to admit I don't really get: putting a bit of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt on them before eating them. My preferred method is just to slice them finely into salads for an instant lift and a dash of colour.
Pop over to Liz's fabulous blog and check out the vegies that others are spotlighting this weekend.