Thursday, 21 May 2009

Underneath the Soil...

Exactly one month ago, I added radishes to the expanding list of produce being sown enthusiastically on the London Vegetable Garden balcony. 31 days later and the radish leaves have grown to truly impressive portions, so I thought I'd do a little digging to see just how far they have actually grown.

Many gardening blogs, books etc tend to show the reader only what's happening externally, but without testing a few plants, it's hard to see just how far along the organic odyssey we actually are. My rocket is evidently ready to be eaten now (Bank Holiday treat perhaps), but what's going on in pots that haven't shown any demonstrable change in recent weeks?

I gently pulled out one of the radishes from the side of the main radish pot, so as not to disturb any roots around the others. In retrospect, I have now learnt that radishes shouldn't be sown so close together - a concept that's hard to avoid when filled with the enthusiasm of sowing tiny seeds in a huge pot! However I have had helpful comments left on the blog and also on Twitter (@londonveggarden) telling me that the radishes on the London Vegetable Garden may just be planted a little too densely to bear a spectacular crop - we shall just have to wait and see what transpires!

Anyway, I digress. As I said, I've pulled up a radish plant and photographed it to show you how far it has grown after 4 weeks. As you can see from the close-up, a 'radish shape' is clearly visible even at this early stage. Some members of the London Vegetable Garden's Twitter contingent have already told me that once the edible part of the radish starts growing, it grows very quickly indeed, so watch this space!

On a slight tangent, I chanced to pop into Somerfield this evening on my way home from the gym and noticed that they were selling big grow bags for a few pounds. This comes as a welcome surprise, as it means a short walk to the supermarket rather than a long and cumbersome journey to the more expensive (albeit superb) garden centre a short bus ride away. No excuses for the tomatoes not to have a nice new home this weekdend!


  1. If your radishes are too close together you can replant them at a more appropriate spacing. (10cm?). Treat the roots very gently as you have done with your specimen, teasing the plants apart. Replant in a fingerhole bigger that easily admits the entirety of the root, and tamp down the surrounding soil firmly, but not too firmly. Water at the end of the day after any direct sunlight is over. Enjoy!

  2. As someone who only started planting a few days ago, it is exciting to see how much progress you make! (: Definately gives me hope for my somewhat pathetic selection of things-not-yet-even-sprouting on my own balcony. (:

  3. Hi Julius,

    Thanks for the tips! My agricultural attentions have been focused on the tomato plants today, but thinning out the radishes could well be the next job - thanks for the useful advice!

  4. Hi Shelley,

    Always glad to hear that people are planting things on their own balconies. Patience is a virtue in the first 7-10 days, but once you start seeing green shoots come up, you'll feel much better - keep the faith!

  5. Excitingly, this afternoon I noticed lots of little green things sprouting up from the soil, days earlier than I had hoped! You're finately right - funny how such little things can make one get all happy!

  6. And it rapidly becomes an obsession! I hear strange things can happen to people growing their own - some have even been known to take pictures and start blogging about it! ;-)

  7. Just wanted to say well done on your balcony garden. Looks great and as im new to veg gardening I too am truly relishing it! Up in the Scottish borders here but am armed with my hand me down greenhouse and pots full of (hopefully) produce .

  8. Thanks for your comment - growing your own vegetables has never been more popular - sales of vegetable seeds are actually outgrowing those of flowers! Good luck with your gardening project - come back and let us all know how you're getting on!



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