Overlooked radish is both incredibly easy to grow and flavoursome

Torbay Weekly

According to the weather reports, if they are to be believed, we are anticipating a two-week sunny spell.

Not sure I believe it given that we already haven't had any rain worthy of speaking about for a considerable time.

You won't find me complaining about this even if does happen. Chasing cabbage white butterflies out of the brassica patch is much easier in the dry.

What I am going to do regardless of the lack of moisture is do what I always do at this time of year and plant a few rows of radish.

I know, I know, the radish is hardly glamorous and it's reminiscent of limp egg salads from the 1970s. What were they thinking?

I’m often found in the garden overthinking why the radish isn't as popular as it might be given that it's incredibly easy to grow and flavoursome.

Some gardeners treat it with such a level of disrespect that they use the rapidly germinating leaves to mark where other crops or flowers have been sown before hoeing them away in favour of the more important crop.

The fact that they have a peppery kick that’s not anywhere near the Scoville scale adds to their appeal in a green salad.

There is even a variety to suggest the French eat them at breakfast (French Breakfast radish) although I've never been served one there alongside my croissants.

Planting them at this time of year is a neat trick to extend the summer planting season.

They will hopefully be ready to harvest in four to six weeks' time and will love the sunshine and shouldn't get too wet.

They aren't fans of wet soil but will thrive in some moisture.

They are in botanical terms a brassica so can't be grown in the same place consecutively.

They will never let you down when germinating as long as they have a drink from time to time.

Make a shallow drill in a weed-free site - you can do this with your finger, it's that easy.

You can place them one by one where you want them or sprinkle them in the drill to thin them out where you need to as they put their heads above the soil.

Once they are covered over, your job is to water them now once a week if it doesn’t rain and keep them weed free.

Remarkably, germination will happen within a week, which makes them perfect for introducing children to growing as the results are almost immediate.

Well, certainly in gardening terms, it’s as instant as you will get.

All of this can be done quickly by hand with no tools required whatsoever.

You can sow a different drill every two weeks until the end of September when it gets a bit cold for them and you will probably be concentrating on the bigger winter vegetables by then anyway.

When the time comes to thin them out, give them about 15cm (or half a school ruler) between each radish to make sure they done steal each others nutrients and grow into the firm and fiery pink cylinders we want in our salad.

Other varieties on the list to plant now are China Rose, Ilka, Stela and Mirabeau. All of these have a peppery flavour and a decent crunch that will make a difference to any salad you might be having at this time of the year.

I think we are so used to homogenous supermarket salad offerings that we have forgotten the unfashionable radish.

Guaranteed if it started appearing in trendy restaurant salads, and there’s no reason why it shouldn't, we’d all be going mad for it.

Can you imagine if it was to appear in the salads that are available at burger chains.

With the current issues around supply, you might be getting ahead of the game by planting a radish or two.