I have a thing for radishes. Some vegetable growers have a thing for tomatoes, and when I say they have a “thing,” I mean they compulsively buy/plant a zillion varieties. Don’t get me wrong; I ogle a nice, juicy, smooth skinned tomato just as much as any forward-thinking, red tomato’d American would. But I have a special spicy spot for my early spring beauties.
I love the radish (Raphanus sativus). As an instant-gratifying sort of guy, many a radish is ready to be plucked from the soil in just a month’s time, and they are one of the earliest seeds one can stick in the cold, cold ground. Germination rates are a bit spotty at soil temperatures of forty degrees, but I had to go for it anyways. As an aside, it is good to begin checking soil temperatures in the spring to know when to begin planting. My soil still was releasing frost as I dug in this week.
There are a number of great varieties out there. I would loosely categorize radishes into four groups: early spring (28 – 45 days to maturity), main crop (45 – 60 days), and cool fall and winter storage types. You are supposed to be able to plant radishes through the season, however, germination success goes down as soil temperatures rise-at least, that has been my experience.
With this year at Wellfield being Kisetsu: The Year of the Island Garden, we are growing an interesting pencil thin Japanese scarlet, as well as a watermelon type so named for its green exterior and pink interior.
In your garden this year, why not be totally rad(ish) and plant a zillion radish in the garden for a quick growing fix to blow away the winter blues. Then, share your pics of your harvest with us!
Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager