In the cooler months whether it be the spring or fall, when someone asks me what is one vegetable they can grow that produces quickly and will do well when temperatures drop, I always answer the radish. Sure there are plenty of others that thrive great in cooler temperatures, but if you want something quick, I honestly can not think of one where you can reap the benefit within as little as 40 days.
They, radishes that is, have very different tastes from variety to variety. Some are very hot (almost an oxy moron I know), while others are simply spicy. They go great in salads, salsas and soups to name a few. My dad would simply pick, wash and eat. I, however, like to mix mine in with some other veggies.
The radish is a root vegetable and grows underground. They are part of the Brassicaceae family which also contains other popular vegetable varieties such as broccoli and cauliflower to name a couple. It is written that the radish was first used in Europe in the pre-Roman times.
Radish grows best in full sun with a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0. I mentioned earlier that many varieties of radish grow quickly. Some varieties can mature in as little as four weeks in some parts of the world, but the norm for the most common varieties of radish is forty to forty-five days.
Most soil types will work for the radish but they do like sandy loams. Loams are nothing more than a combination of sand, silt and clay that contain large amounts of humus (the final result of compost) which allow for better drainage but still retain water better.
If you are looking to grow your radish and get some seeds out of them, know that their seeds growin in siliques. A silique, sometimes called a pod, is where you will find them. It is a “seed capsule” fused by two carpels.
Radishes are a great source absorbic and folic acid as well as B6 and Calcium.
Although the most common portion of the radish that is eaten is the taproot (an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering plant root that grows vertically downward), the entire plant is actually edible. The tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The seeds of the radish can be pressed to extract oil that can been used to create biofuel. Many radish varieties have been shown that their seeds contain as much as 48% oil content.
Finally, if you ever find yourself in Oaxaca, Mexico around Christmas time (December 23rd to be exact) you will find the locals celebrating Noche de los Rábanos or the Night of the Radishes. They will carve religious and popular figures out of radishes and display them in the town square.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.
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