Raphanus sativus 'Easter Egg II'
28-32 days. This blend has all the radish colours in one package! They all grow at the same rate and all have white insides but the skin colours are white, red, and purple. They are round, crisp and flavourful. At harvest time, they drew a crowd of kids in the Demonstration Garden.
CULTURE: Sow outdoors March through April and again August to October. The season may be extended from February through November by sowing under some kind of cover: frames, cloches or greenhouses. Sow seeds 1cm (1/2 in.) deep, 1cm (1/2 in.) apart in rows at least 30cm (12 in.) apart. It is essential to thin promptly to 4-5cm (1-11/2 in.) apart in the row. (Try the thinnings steamed or with Mesclun.) Radishes have shallow root systems, so maintain high moisture levels with good fertility by mixing compost into the surface 5-8cm (2-3 in.) of the bed and watering frequently. Dry or crowded conditions slow growth and make bulbs hot or pithy. INSECTS: More than slight flea beetle damage (pinholes in leaves) can reduce growth rate and thus reduce quality of the radishes. Control heavy infestations by frequent spraying with Rotenone; by encouraging rapid growth through growing in moist, fertile soil; and by growing varieties that produce enough top that the flea beetles may be spared some. Root maggots may be reduced by prompt harvest of the roots, which shortens the amount of time cabbage fly larvae have to hatch out and invade the root; and/or by using Reemay. Expect to lose 20-30% of your radishes to maggots if you don’t use any protection.
HARVEST: Pull before the roots become too large or cracked. Make frequent, small plantings for a steady supply of radishes. You can also let a few plants set seed pods for eating in salads or stir-fries when they are about 1cm long. And don’t forget those radish greens! They’re delicious too!
SEEDSPEC: Minimum germination standard: 80%. Days to emergence: 4-11. Optimum soil temperature range for germination: 7-30 deg. C (45-85 deg. F). Days to maturity: from date of direct seeding. Approx. 60 seeds/g. Usual seed life: 4 years.
In Europe the radish is only a minor salad plant, but in China and Japan it is an important root vegetable, eaten both raw, preserved and cooked. Wild radishes, Raphanus raphanistrum are common on wasteland by the sea and in sandy areas inland throughout the British Isles and much of Europe, with various subspecies. Cultivated radishes are known to have been grown by the Egyptians in about 2780BC when they were included in the rations given to the workers on the Great Pyramid. The origin of the cultivated radish is not clear, though it is presumably descended from the wild species and was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean area. By 500BC it was grown in China and by 700AD in Japan. Black radishes were the earliest to be cultivated. Long, white tapering ones appeared in Europe in the late sixteenth century. The round radish first appeared in the eighteenth century. They now come in many shapes and skin colours. Modern varieties are bred to be bolt-resistant and to reduce the pithiness.