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Radishes - a second sowing

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The first row of Radishes which I sowed alongside my Broad Beans have come up now and are looking good, so it’s time to think about the next lot.

I haven’t bought any new Radish seeds this year, because I have lots left over from last year and before. I find that they keep very well and remain viable for at least 3 or 4 years.

Today’s sowing is an exact copy of the previous one. Having prepared the ground (removing any large pieces of twig, and breaking-down any lumps of soil), I made a shallow drill by pushing the handle of my rake horizontally into the soil. Into this drill I placed the seeds individually, spacing them a couple of inches apart. With big seeds like Radishes, this is eminently possible when you are only sowing a short row like mine (2.4 metres), but would be a bit too laborious if you’re working in larger scale! Then I gently watered the row using a watering-can with a fine rose and covered the seeds with a thin layer of dry soil.

The final part of the task was to mark the ends of the row with a couple of short sticks, and then cover it with the cloches. The cloches will warm the soil a bit, but they are there mainly to dissuade the local cats and foxes from digging up the seeds.

Radishes grow to maturity very quickly (approx. six to eight weeks is normal), so they are a good crop to get going now, when fresh veg is a bit scarce. They never get big either, so there is no chance of them blocking out the light to other crops that you will be sowing in the next few weeks.

I usually grow Radishes early in the season because I find that later on – say, after June – they tend to bolt very easily, especially if the weather is hot and dry. They like moist soil, so I’m always careful to water them frequently.

Another little tip: either sow the seeds well spaced-out right at the start, or thin them out very soon after germination, because if they are overcrowded they will never develop properly. They will go thin and leggy, without the swollen roots that you want. I find that a spacing of approximately 2 inches between plants is about right.

Radishes to the left of Broad Beans.

To read more articles like this, on Gardening and Gastronomy, please visit * *


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