Joe White: Success in the vegetable garden easily achieved with radishes – Shreveport Times

joe-white:-success-in-the-vegetable-garden-easily-achieved-with-radishes-–-shreveport-times

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So, you’ve never attempted to grow a vegetable garden. Well then, you may not know how much more flavorful most of the vegetables can be when taken straight from the garden at their peak quality as compared to those purchased at a local grocery that were harvested before they could develop their full flavor.Or, is your reluctance to try growing some vegetable because you are afraid you will fail? Try growing radishes. They’re so easy to succeed with that they are the vegetable parents frequently first give their children to introduce them to gardening. And space is no problem. They work well when planted in a ground row as short as ten feet or they can also be planted in a large pot on your patio or porch. Should you fail (which is most unlikely), you haven’t lost much more than a little time and effort because the seed is cheap from generally less than $2.00 for an ounce to as little as $1.75 for 500 seed. And, yes, there are some varieties that are much more expensive. The culture of radishes is so very easy. Plant the seed about an eighth of an inch deep (just barely under the surface of the soil). The soil needs to be loose and enriched with appropriate fertilizer and organic materials. If the weather is dry, provide just enough moisture to keep the soil damp. Plant the seed rather thinly so that individual plants have room for their roots to enlarge. Even when you do this, you may still have to thin small plants to give the remaining ones the space they need. Radishes are a cool-season crop and thrive during the cool months of the fall and early spring. While the extreme cold of December, January and February will kill the plants, several varieties (in fact most varieties) will be ready to harvest in around another 30 days and thus re-planting often will result in another harvest before the next freezing weather arrives.Actually, the LSU AgCenter recommends that radishes be planted as early as the first of September and as late as the first of November. Of course, we’re already past that date, but the AgCenter is aware of the risk involved and therefore the suggested safe dates are given. Suggested spring dates are the month of March. General-purpose garden fertilizer is usually a good choice, but one that includes plenty of potassium will supply the element that most favors root development. Although I don’t believe that there are any specific recommendations for choosing varieties, the various seed catalogs offer dozens of radish varieties and you can buy loose seed at some of the farm and garden stores plus the big box stores and most of the nurseries have racks of seed packets. 
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