Or at least, why do I even bother planting radishes in winter? I picked some radishes today for a quick appetizer and it so happened that I picked them from two different beds. Do you see how the two radishes in the left have a lot more foliage than the two radishes in the right of the photo? But the radishes themselves are about the same size. Yes, I realize that the ones to the right are slightly smaller, but the difference is not great. All of them are perfect baby radish size.
Well, I planted the two on the left last November, on the 2oth to be exact. The radishes on the right were planted on February 7th, eleven weeks later. Both plantings are ready to pick at the same time. Meanwhile the November ones have had eleven weeks extra exposure to radish eating creatures, as you can see from the bites someone took off the left most one. I didn’t feel any difference in taste. The were all fresh and crisp and spicy.
I know, plants do grow less during the short days of winter. But it is actually surprising to me that those extra eleven weeks made no noticeably difference. Does it take a certain amount of daylight to fatten a root? The leaves grew plenty…
As a gardener I want to figure out the best time to plant my crops. Temperature is the most obvious determining factor: I plant tomatoes in warm weather and broccoli in cool weather. Day length is a more subtle one. And how do those two factors interact? I am paying attention now. Do leave crops react differently to short days than root crops? What about fruit crops like peas or favas? I’ll keep watching. Lots to learn in the garden. Always.