Radishes, a comparison.
Two radish varieties, Easter egg and Sora, were planted on April 13 in the raised bed where Matt’s wild cherry tomatoes will be planted toward the end of May. Above is a photo of the little radish plants on April 22. Easter egg plants in 2 rows on the left. Sora plants in 2 rows on the right.
Above is a photo of the radish plants on May 18, along with a few weeds. Most of the Sora radishes on the righthand side have already been harvested, which is the reason there are fewer of them.
Easter egg radishes reach maturity in 30 days. Sora in 22 days. This was borne out by experience since the Sora were a nice size a full week before the Easter egg.
Above is a photo of the Sora radishes on May 12, along with 3 Easter egg radishes in the upper lefthand corner.
Both varieties are from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. The Sora radishes are from organic seeds. They are said to resist pithiness even when oversized or in warm weather. I didn’t get a chance to check that out because we ate all of them in May. I like round red radishes, so their looks pleased me. They were crisp with just a little bite to them. A definite candidate for replanting and for buying more seed.
On May 18, I harvested the remainder of the radishes to make room for the Matt’s wild cherry tomatoes in the raised bed. Above is a photo of the final harvest, mostly Easter egg radishes. Easter egg radishes are a multicolor mix of red, purple, and white, which is a marketing plus, but I’m not marketing them. They also stay crisp when large. They taste good.
All in all, though, I’m going with the Sora seeds when I buy again. They grow faster. I like red radishes. It’s a personal preference.
There is one other reason, now that I’m thinking about it. There were many Easter egg radishes that stayed small and oval-shaped and were sent to the compost pile. Probably because they were sown too thick. The Sora, on the other hand, seemed to push one another apart and formed nice round radishes even when they were close together. Of course, I should plant seeds thinner, but it was nice that the Sora produced round radishes even when they were crowded. Pulling the Sora radishes was an aesthetically satisfying experience. The Easter egg, not so much.
Louise Riotte, in Carrots Love Tomatoes, has several fun ideas about radishes as companion plants. Since radishes grow so quickly, they can get tucked into little spaces among other vegetables.
Riotte writes that radishes and pole beans derive mutual benefit. Also that radishes grown with lettuce in summer are particularly succulent. Sounds good. Peas grow well with radishes. Radishes planted with cucumbers will protect against cucumber beetles if you leave them to blossom and go to seed. Hmm.
Riotte suggests planting radish seed with beets, spinach, carrots, and parsnips in early spring to mark the rows. The radishes come up faster and will be out of the way before the other vegetables need the space. What a good idea.
Well, some gardeners laugh at companion planting, but Riotte’s ideas seem to me to have value. I’m planning to plant radishes next in the raised beds with the peas and the beans. Also with some lettuce the next time I plant that. Why not.
Some gardeners also laugh at planting by the moon. In Salad Leaves for All Seasons, Charles Dowding, the British lettuce expert, believes in planting by the moon. I’ve never had enough time to figure out how that works. Maybe next year. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep Riotte’s suggestions for radish companion planting in mind. More later. Can’t wait for a good homegrown garden salad. With radishes, of course.