Photo and article by Donna Iverson
With July on our doorsteps, you may think planting time is over. But there are some flowers and vegetables that can still be added to the garden.
It’s not too late to plant beans and radishes, herbs like dill and basil, and flowers, like calendula and nasturtiums.
Summer seems like a perfect time to try interplanting, i.e., planting in bare spots in and around plants that are already growing. Radishes are the ideal veggie to give this a try.
Radish seeds sprout in a couple of days, and are ready for harvest in two to three weeks. They don’t take up much space although they don’t like overcrowding, so follow the seed packet directions and place them four inches apart.
In this heat, you will need to water daily until they are established and then once or twice a week to encourage growth. Unless of course, we get some rain.
If you are interested in micro-greens, the radish sprout can be eaten like a baby leaf when it is about one inch high. It has a crunchy spicy flavor. But don’t wait too long, the radish leaves will get hairy very quickly.
In the fall, and after flowing, the seed pods are also edible. Pick while they are still green. They can be eaten raw or pickled.
There are many varieties of radishes but basically they can be divided into two groups, the standard small round or oblong radish and the Asian radishes which are larger and often cooked like other root vegetables, such as the turnip. Today, radish skins come in many colors including white, red, pink, yellow, purple and black. My favorite farmers market vendor calls them rainbow radishes. Radishes are root vegetables, members of the Brassica family, along with arugula, broccoli and cabbage.
There is also a specialty radish called a watermelon radish. It is an heirloom variety of daikon radish that originated in China. They look like miniature watermelons, green on the outside and vibrant pink on the inside. Like other radish varieties, they can be eaten raw, pickled or cooked.
The bottom line is, growing radishes is no longer just for kids.