(Species: Raphanus sativus - Family: Brassicaceae)
Radish and its origins
The name radish is derived from 'radix', the Latin for root. It is a member of the mustard family, which accounts for the familiar peppery, hot taste that accompanies its crunchy texture.
Radishes originated in China and were then grown in ancient Egypt and Greece and are today grown and eaten throughout the world.
Radishes are roots so grow beneath the soil and are either globular or cylindrical in shape. They can be coloured deep rose pink, white or sometimes bi-coloured.
They mature quickly, from seed to harvesting in about 25 days, and have a long season from early spring to late summer.
There are also winter varieties that are black in colour, larger-rooted and less popular. The advantage is that when growing radish, you can continue to enjoy them from late autumn and into winter, from summer sowings.
How to plant Radish
Radishes are fast-growing and easy to cultivate, making them ideal for successional sowings through the summer, and are great to fill gaps between slower-maturing vegetables.
The radish needs little space, and can be grown in the ground or in larger containers. Seed should be sown directly into prepared, stone-free soil or multi-purpose compost. They prefer moisture-retentive, fertile soil and if sowing in spring, give them a sunny site, but in the heat of summer, they will do better in semi-shade.
Sow thinly into previously-watered holes, approximately 1cm deep. If necessary, thin the seedlings to 3cm apart so there is room for roots to develop. Water regularly because dry conditions will cause the roots to become woody and unpalatable, but don't overwater, because this will cause foliage to grow lush at the expense of the root.
Harvest radishes when the roots are mature but be wary of leaving them in the ground for too long as this will adversely affect the taste and texture. Prompt harvesting will also help to avoid the flea beetle, which makes many small holes in the leaves. Mesh or fleece covers can help to keep the flea beetle away. Slugs and snails can also be a problem, so take precautions with XXXX if necessary. Washed and stored in a plastic bag in the fridge, a radish will keep for a few days but are best eaten as the radish is as fresh as possible.
Did you know: Radish facts
Construction workers on the Great Pyramids were not paid in coins, but radishes as well as onions and garlic.
The seeds were an important oil source for the ancient Egyptians before olive trees were introduced into the country.
In ancient Greece, the radish was so revered that gold replicas were made and offered to Apollo.