Friday, 30 April 2010

Rabbit food

First crops of the 2010 season are ready for the picking.

Back in late March I made my first sowing of radish French breakfast. These were covered under fleece along with a disastrous carrot sowing; I think I have five carrots showing from two small rows. (Old seed and crap weather) and a very successful Salsify sowing (also old seed but these all germinated - go figure!)

Growing radish isn't a labour of love like your average Brasica. Along with Spinach which is also ready for its first cut of baby leaves, it’s probably the easiest and quickest cropper you can plant.

Both have the same growing/sowing instructions. Start by drilling a shallow line into your prepared soil using a hoe/bamboo stick (Whatever really, they will grow even if you leave them on the surface). Sow thinishly, cover up if you can be bothered and then keep the seed bed moist. After several days they will emerge. Thin the emerging seedlings to a few centimetres between plants. Then in just four weeks or so later you eat them.

Sow every where you have a bit of space, in my opinion there’s no point having a radish or spinach patch. Mine grow between potatoes, salads - anywhere there’s some free space. You need to grow a lot of spinach as it wilts down to next to nothing.

My wife loves the radishes and the kids love them because they can sow, grow and munch in a very short space of time and then plant something else.

How to eat them? Well they don’t cook too well like the winter Mooli. These are strictly salad fodder. The French get on their velo and ride to the bakers for a crusty baguette which is then buttered with Buerre Normandy. A little "salt well" made up on the plate and of course the radishes cleaned and de-headed. Crunchy, simple, and delicious! Goes down a treat with a pint of Abbots ale.

So the humble radish - nothing to get ecstatic about unless like me a few years ago, it was the first thing I had ever taken home from the allotment and I nearly pissed myself with excitement.

Spinach on the other hand does make me far more exited. This is another crop that takes on a whole new dimension when grown fresh. The leaves picked young are bouncy and snap with freshness. The taste is something you will not experience from the commercially cleaned, hydroponically grown vacuum packed isles in Waitrose.

Spinach is very versatile. You can add them to salads, Juice it; it goes great with fish steamed with a tiny amount of lemon juice and rock salt once plated up. I personally don’t thing red meat is its best companion. By far my favourite, and also the favourite of anybody I recommend it to. Is to lightly fry off some spring onions with lots of their green leaves too, blend the spinach into the onions for a few seconds and then crack open some gifted chicken or duck eggs and make a runny omelette seasoned with a little salt and plenty of cracked pepper. Fast food that I would take over fine dining any day of the week. Goes well with abbots Ale and grainy bread to lap up the juicy bits!


  1. We are eating our baby spinach for the past couple of weeks! I had prepared the bed in the greenhouse for the tomatoes but put in spinach and winter lettuce for the few weeks in between.I also have it on a bed but take your point about putting it in anywhere there is space as it does wilt down.

  2. Hi peggy, I dont think you can grow enough Baby spinach. You pick your leaves and it seems like you have enough to feed an army only to see it dissapear when steamed to nothing.

  3. Still going with the plot?


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