The hot peppery taste of radish can really spice up a salad and they are so easy to grow making them ideal for newcomers to veg growing
This is one of the easiest vegetables you can grow and one of the fastest to mature.
It can be grown between slower crops such as leeks or brassicas making it useful for the small plot where space is limited.
The popular salad radish needs to be harvested when small as it soon develops a very hot flavour if left to grow large.
There are also winter varieties of radish that are usually larger and some are black.
They have a very strong flavour but if cooked this is tempered.
These make a useful addition to the veg patch in the leaner months of the year so are worth a try.
There are also the mooli radish that are mild, crisp, long and white.
These are better sown midsummer for autumn and winter use as they are hardy and can be left in the ground until required.
Chinese radish such as ‘Mantanghong F1‘ , also known as ‘Beauty Heart‘, produces green and white tennis ball-sized roots which have a purple-red centre.
The flesh is nutty with the ‘heat‘ in the outer white area.
Radish will tolerate a little shade They are usually sown direct where you want them to grow leaving about 2.5cm (1in) between seeds in rows about 15cm (6in) apart.
Growing close together helps to keep them small and better flavoured.
Winter radish are usually given more space, at least 15cm (6in) between plants.
The young seedlings are particularly vulnerable to flea beetle attack which feed on the leaves punching tiny holes in them.
The crop can grow through this but sprinkle with powdered dry soil if they are troublesome.
Water the crop well especially in mid-summer. Harvest when roots are about the size of a 10 pence piece.
Japanese varieties are left until about 13-17cm (5-7in) long and winter varieties are lifted when wanted.
• French Breakfast: A classic variety of long red and white roots just perfect for summer salads.
• Cherry Belle: This produces small round all red roots which are milder than some radish.
• Zlata: An unusual yellow variety with white flesh and oval roots. Ideal for mixing with red radish for great colour.