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Adventures with radishes


I spent the very best part of the 70s in front of my television set entranced by “The Good Life”, so when we got our larger garden just over a year ago now I had fantasies of, if not self sufficiency, then at least a few radishes.
This resolve was strengthened when our flower bed in the centre of the garden turned out to be over-run with golden rod – a pernicious thug that could only be got out by sawing through the roots and hacking them out inch by inch!
A decision was made to turn over the central bed to vegetables, and garlic was duly sown in the Autumn to start us off. The weather was still warm and the garlic got off to a fine start. Two weeks later I put in some red onions and the cold weather hit – almost immediately. I have no idea what happened to them – nothing very happy!

And then there was nothing to do except look at the expanse of brown earth in front of the window.
Oh dear!
Of course this inevitably meant a couple of trips down to garden centres and the like and before we know where we are we have bought and been given….

One redcurrant
One blackcurrant
Two gooseberries
One goji bush
One brown turkey fig
Two plum trees
One apple tree
One logan berry
Ten raspberries

Oh dear oh dear oh dear – so much for vegetables lol!

This is what the first section of vegetable plot looks like now.

Hmm – I thought this was a vegetable plot I hear you cry – what about the small matter of the tulips, ornamental onions, alchemilla mollis, lily of the valley, primulas, lavender, geranium, not to mention the daffodils and crocuses!
The problem is that underneath all that horrid golden rod lurked all these other lovely treasures. No sooner had I dug the rod up than they all started to appear.
Anyway be patient with me – I have only just started down this road. I need weaning off my lovely flowers!

Anyway as you can see there is still some space left. I hope you like our runner bean support. It is carefully made out of willow and hazel prunings so I am very attached to it. Don’t worry the hazel forms the uprights not the willow and I put it in upside down to stop anything rooting , but I am aware that it is immensely ugly. We call it Baba Yaga’s hut! Perhaps the beans will hide it. If not I will have to try harder next year!

This last section of the centre bed is dedicated to soft fruit and potatoes. I love rhubarb so I am hoping that it will work well. The sticks at the back are raspberries but I put them in shortly before one of the immensely cold patches and I think it killed almost all of them off. A couple have survived that were tucked in by the hedge so I am going to forego raspberries this year and take cuttings.

The loganberry is fine which is a blessing as it was so expensive £10 for one pot plant – ugh!
I have thrown some radish seed along the top of the potatoes ala Monty Don and NOTHING. I have made a seed bed and put radish in it – NOTHING and I have bought a second packet just in case there was something wrong – NOTHING. What is wrong with me please?

Just in case you think I am always hopeless (and I confess that I think that fairly frequently during my adventures with radishes) I should point out that I objected to spending another £10 on my blackcurrant plant in the autumn, took a set of hard wood cuttings and they are all growing away happily! Hurrah!

Now clearly the trees were never going to fit in the central plot so I have found space for them next to my new fence to give me something more interesting to look at. These first two – a Victoria plum and James Grieve apple are doing well – plenty of blossom and tiny plums starting. The Opal plum though has no blossom at all which I am putting down to the hard frost and a new life – we will have to see about next year – Any hints please let me know.

I also built a special raised bed for little things to try and keep the slugs off – which appears to be working nicely for these lettuces. However, again I am a sucker for a pretty face and could not resist this verbascum which self-seeded especially as it would never have grown on my solid clay.

Finally I want to leave you with a shot of my other vegetable extension. Strawberries (bulking up nicely) with red onions behind and three courgettes already planted out. Safe? I think so. Perhaps there will be another frost but it has been so warm that I doubt it (though I will keep a weather eye open and be ready with the fleece!) and these guys have stood outside for ages now.

There is more but I forgot to take photos so I will have to wait till it is light again and I can get out with my camera. In the meantime – please can someone tell me how to grow a radish?

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I have no experience with growing radishes (it seems you have given it a pretty good try, Sarah). Somebody will be along who is smarter then me and you put together, with an

You get an "A" for effort though :)

Isn't it a nice surprise to have all those plants turn up after getting rid of your thugs? It's like getting plants for free! Hope your strawberries nice fresh from the garden.

17 Apr, 2011


LOL on the radishes. I had opposite luck with mine last year. They grew too fast and bolted, didn't get a single good root. Maybe if you don't have luck this spring, you'll find luck this fall with them. I've heard they prefer fall (to keep from bolting). Maybe you just had bad seed?!? Also, I love your support for the runner beans. Don't think it is ugly at all! Gives a bit of natural whimsy to the veggie plot. Your strawberries look great. Way better than mine are doing. Good luck with everything :)

18 Apr, 2011


I had to smile at this,Sarah..snap! I have never managed to grow decent radishes either..They have either stayed small,taken on the disguise of 'the mint with the hole 'as i left them in too long,or the two..yes ,two..that seemed ok,were put in the fridge,awaiting to be eaten with my salad the next day..only to find they had gone soft and wrinkly..! Lol.
I have given up on them now,after trying a few times..but all other foodie stuff have been good :o)..I can cope without home grown radishes .! Lol.

18 Apr, 2011


Wow... you've an amazing mix growing in your garden ... well done ... interesting blog...
I've never grown radishes ... :o)

18 Apr, 2011


Lovely blog! You write so well! I grew radishes once yeeeeeeeeeears ago and remember that they did lots of nothing much, so maybe it's not you - it's them being pernicketty? Good luck with the rest. :o)

18 Apr, 2011


I like growing fruit bushes. I used to have a James grieve apple tree when I lived in the old cottage. Nice apples.
As for radishes - I find they always bolt before the radishes form. I'm not bothering with them this year :(

18 Apr, 2011


After a few attempts..neither am I ,Hywel..a total waste of space,as far as I'm concerned..I wouldn't mind,but I'm not all that keen on why did I bother ?? Lol.

18 Apr, 2011


Hi sussexsarah,

You have been busy,

Ummm the radish problem.....

Are the birds eating the seeds?
Slugs and snails?

I've grown them before as a quick crop, and less you like radish with every thing I would think of some thing else to bung in. My kids wouldn't eat them, then hubby decided he wasn't too keen, luckily chickens liked them so I didn't end up eating the whole lot.

Happy gardening.

18 Apr, 2011


Hi Sarah, I really like the twiggy obelisk which you see as an eyesore - it looks very rustic and suited to a garden - much more so than any wire or plastic one could. Well done. Regarding your veggies etc, you are developing a very nice mixed cottage garden with veggies and flowers, which is how it should be. As for your radishes - I'm sure that one day without you even trying hard, you get a really good crop, so don't despair - Happy Radish Gardening.

18 Apr, 2011


Thanks for all the encouraging comments - I am so pleased that radishes arent quite as easy as the TV gardeners would have us think. I'm not desperate about them anyway so I may give up. But there again I may not - I have a stubborn streak from here to the bottom of my garden. How odd would it be if I ended up with a garden full of plants I can't grow.

22 Apr, 2011

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