RADISH, Raphanus saiivus (nat. order Cruciferae), in botany, a fleshy-rooted annual, unknown in the wild state. Some varieties of the wild radish, R. Raphanistrum, however, met with on the Mediterranean coasts, come so near to it as to suggest that it may possibly be a cultivated race of the same species. It is very popular as a raw salad. There are two principal forms, the spindle-rooted and the turniprooted.
The radish succeeds in any well-worked not too heavy garden soil, but requires a warm, sheltered situation. The seed is generally sown broadcast, in beds 4 to 5 ft. wide, with alleys between, the beds requiring to be netted over to protect them from birds. The earliest crop may be sown about the middle of December, the seed-beds being at once covered with litter, which should not be removed till the plants come up, and then only in the daytime, and when there is no frost. If the crop succeeds, which depends on the state of the weather, it will be in use about the beginning of March. Another sowing may be made in January, a third early in February, if the season is a favourable one, and still another towards the end of February, from which time till October a small sowing should be made every fortnight or three weeks in spring, and rather more frequently during summer. About the end of October, and again in November, a late sowing may be made on a south border or bank, the plants being protected in severe weather with litter or mats. The winter radishes, which grow to a large size, should be sown in the beginning of July and in August, in drills from 6 to 9 in. apart, the plants being thinned out to 5 or 6 in. in the row. The roots become fit for use during the autumn. For winter use they should be taken up before severe frost sets in, and stored in dry sand. Radishes, like other fleshy roots, are attacked by insects, the most dangerous being the larvae of several species of fly, especially the radish fly (Anthomyia radicum). The most effectual means of destroying these is by watering the plants with a dilute solution of carbolic acid, or much diluted gas- water; or gas-lime may be sprinkled along the rows.
Forcing. To obtain early radishes a sowing in the British Isles should be made about the beginning of November, and continued fortnightly till the middle or end of February; the crop will generally be fit for use about six weeks after sowing. The seed should be sown in light rich soil, 8 or 9 in. thick, on a moderate hotbed, or in a pit with a temperature of from 55 to 65. Gentle waterings must be given, and air admitted at every favourable opportunity; but the sashes must be protected at night and in frosty weather with straw mats or other materials. Some of these .crops are often grown with forced potatoes. The best forcing sorts are Wood's early frame, and the early rose globe, early dwarf-top scarlet turnip, and early dwarf-top white turnip.
Those best suited for general cultivation are the following:
Spindle-rooted. Long scarlet, including the sub-varieties scarlet short-top, early frame scarlet, and Wood's early frame; long scarlet short-top, best for general crop.
Turnip-rooted. Early rose globe-shaped, the earliest of all; early dwarf -top scarlet turnip, and early dwarf -top white turnip; earliest Erfurt scarlet, and early white short-leaved, both very early sorts; French breakfast, olive-shaped; red turnip and white turnip, for summer crops.
Winter sorts. Black Spanish, white Chinese, Californian mammoth.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)