Incredible edible root vegetable: Daikon radish

Root vegetables: ravishing Daikon radish

Credit: Terry Guscott

Discover the Daikon, a ravishing root vegetable that packs a nutrient-filled punch

Daikon is a large, white, spicy radish that can grow up to 30 cm long (12 in.). It is a member of the cole family, which is loaded with nutrients and cancer-preventing qualities. Enjoy this beauty crisp and fresh in salad or with a dip, sliced into a stir-fry, or roasted until tender. Growing Daikon is simple; the most difficult part is cleaning up the long dirty roots, best done under cool running water using a plastic scrubber dedicated to vegetables. If necessary, give it a light peel or scrape.

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The seeds can be sown as early as March and then every 10 days until August. They’ll be ready to harvest in 50 days. Like other radishes the daikon is a moderate to heavy feeder and is best in rich, humus soil amended with composted manure. Limit manure application to not more than a yearly application of 20 per cent of the existing soil volume, as too much manure can produce hairy, fibrous roots. For a long, straight, well-developed crop, prepare the soil at least 30 cm (12 in.) deep. A pH of 6 to 6.8 is optimal, and an early winter application of lime will help to sweeten the soil. Sow the seeds 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in.) apart and 2 cm (3/4 in.) deep. Unused seed will keep up to four years, with a germination rate of 80 per cent.

Following germination, apply a controlled-release organic granular fertilizer at the recommended rate to the top the seedbed’s soil. Apply a 4*2*3 liquid organic fertilizer every 10 days. I recommend a deep watering every two days. As the radish matures and pushes up from the soil, cover the top with a light dusting of cultivated soil and hill up the soil around the root. Be rigorous about weeding, as root crops do not compete well with weeds.