Why grow radishes?
Radishes, they are crunchy and crisp and welcome in salads but seldom are they given the credit they deserve when gardeners lay out their vegetable patches for the coming growing season. And this is a shame in a way; radishes are planted early, and germinate quickly and grow fast. Some are ready for the table a mere three weeks from the day they sprout.
Their quick germination interval also makes them useful as row markers for plants which may sprout more slowly, such as cabbages and carrots. This is particularly handy in early spring when weeds are super competitive. Best of all, when no longer needed as row markers, they can be eaten. Try that with a plant marker from the nursery!
Radishes come in all sizes and colors, from small red balls to huge, carrot shaped varieties usually called Daikon radishes. They span the color palette from white to black and can dress up any salad or snack tray with their multi colored crispiness.
But here is something many folks do not know about the humble radish, and that is how nutritionally beneficial these little root crops can be. Vitamins include vitamins K and B-6, folic acid and C in abundance. Vitamin C is particularly abundant in the greens which are tasty but underused salad and cooking greens.
A cruciferous veggie, radishes provides many of the same benefits of its cousins, kale and collards. Antioxidants abound, as do fiber and some arcane compounds called isothiocyanates which are known to kill cancer cells. There are substances present which help to purify the blood, aid digestion and the potassium is wonderful for heart health. Low in calories, high in benefit radishes help with any weight loss program.
That is a lot to expect from the much ignored radish. Adding a few seed packets of this crunchy, tangy little health food store to your order list is a great idea for every gardener and his or her family.
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