Posts Tagged ‘Radish’


Top chefs like Neven Maguire are setting new trends again. This time they are growing and serving very young seedling plants and sprouted seeds. This is what many people call ‘micro-greens’.

GIY Ireland fan, Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz have written a book called ‘The Speedy Vegetable Gardener’ (Timber Press) in which they enthuse about micro-greens. These speedy gardeners tell us that,  ‘ As well as being the speediest possible route to leafy greens, micro greens are flavour bombshells. Added to salads of larger leaves they impart zing and liveliness, but they can also be used as a salad in themselves or as a flavouring – they bring a punch of vibrant taste to whatever they are added to.

Micro greens are just tiny seedlings of plants we usually harvest when they are more fully grown. They are sown into compost and grown in light like any normal seedling, but harvested just a week or so after germination when they’ve produced their first pair of leaves.

The plants that work best as micro greens are those with intense flavour and/or colour. Coriander, basil, fennel, radish and the oriental leaves are all great to try. At micro stage they contain the essence of their fully grown selves, only more concentrated, so you get a burst of flavour, stronger and often cleaner than it would be if you left the plant to grow to maturity’.

Áine and myself visited Neven Maguire in County Cavan,  at his famous Blacklion restaurant, McNean House, recently. Also impressive, but a little less famous, is Neven’s kitchen garden. With help from Hans & Gaby Wieland and

Neven's secret to great flavours, home-grown micro-greens sown in guttering in the polytunnel.

Neven’s secret to great flavours, home-grown micro-greens sown in guttering in the polytunnel.

 The Organic Centre nearby in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, Neven, Amelda and their team are growing all manner of fresh veg and herbs in polytunnels, including micro – greens. You can read more about Neven’s growing techniques in his interview on pages 154 – 155 in (yes you’ve guessed it!) ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’ (



Every garden needs a gaffer - Arthur the cat supervises seed sowing from the comfort of his bed atop a bag of old leaves.

Last week I mentioned that with a small garden, sowing most seeds in small pots or seed trays with a view to transplanting the seedlings to open soil in a few weeks is my preference. However, some vegetable seedlings do not thrive if transplanted. Root vegetables especially prefer to be sown directly where they are to grow to maturity.

A terracotta large pot suits my garden as a place to grow carrots. I use my largest pot which is about 50cm across and 50 cm high. Placing it in the middle of the brassica patch, I put a few stones in the base to help water to drain out at the bottom. Then I fill it with the finest soil I have. This soil grew beetroot last year so there is no fresh compost in it and hardly any large stones. Once almost full, I scatter a couple of dozen seeds spaced about 3 -4 cm across the soil surface. I cover the seedbed with a skim of soil, pat it down with the palm of my hand and then water through the rose spout of a watering can.

The carrot variety I used this year was ‘Amsterdam Forcing 2’. March to August is the period to sow this variety. In August, I might try sowing some seeds in the greenhouse for a late harvest. With 800 in the average packet, I will not run out of carrot seed in my small garden for a while.


Meanwhile, the radish seedbeds are windowboxes each filled with soil from the patch growing cabbage and kale this year, as radish is also a brassica like them. Only growing the brassica family in the same soil once every 4 years hopefully will prevent me having to deal with the bane of the brassica vegetables, clubroot disease. Rotating each veg family around a 4 year rotation has spared me any serious plant diseases so far, buíochas le Dia.

Last year, I sowed a well known radish variety ‘French Breakfast’ from Madeleine Mc Keever, the West Cork  organic seed producer This year, I am trying a heritage radish variety which originated in the 1890’s ‘Scarlet Globe‘ which I bought from in Scarriff, Co. Clare.

Each week from now to October, I will make a sowing of a couple of dozen radish seeds in a vacant window box each week. In about 5 weeks, the seed I sowed today will have become mature radish. Once those radish are harvested that week and their windowbox seedbed is cleared, I can handfork the soil over and sow, with fresh radish seed’ that windowbox anew – and so on week by week. The peppery crunchiness of a freshly harvested radish is impossible to find in a shop bought radish which was probably Dutch grown. One more reason to G.I.Y.  ( Grow It Yourself) and get involved with

Planting Radishes

2 February 2009

Weather: today was bitterly cold with a chilling north-easterly wind bringing sleet and snow.

Today Trevor plants some radish seeds in a planter. Radishes are easy to grow and provide a delicious early vegetable. By planting several containers a week apart, Trevor makes sure to have a ready supply of fresh radishes throughout the growing season.

What you need:

  • Planter or other suitable container. This will be stored indoors for the first few weeks.
  • Seeds – Trevor only uses certified organic seeds but radish seed is widely available in garden centres
  • Soil – Trevor uses soil from the plot where he grew cabbages last season
  • Compost
  • Shovel or trowel

Make sure the planter is clean before you fill it. Then fill it to within a couple of inches of the top with the soil. Sow the seeds thinly (i.e. well spread out) on top of the soil and cover with a thin layer of compost (or more soil if you don’t have compost). Then place the planter in a well lit location protected from frost. Trevor placed his planter indoors, just inside his patio doors. When the weather gets a bit better, he will move the planter outdoors.

Next week, and for each of the following four weeks, he will start another planter of radishes. That way, he will have a continuous supply of fresh radishes throughout the season.

For more information on growing and cooking radishes, take a look at this article on