Saturday, February 27, 2010

Root vegetables

I just had to blog about buying root crops as seedlings in punnets. Take a close look at the above photo. These radishes were for sale at a nursery and had obviously been there for a few weeks. They were priced at $3.90 which makes each radish (there are five, the sixth hadn't formed a root) worth a little under $1 each. Currently at the supermarket radishes are $2 for about 8 (about 25c each). So buying radishes like this is an extremely expensive (although very fresh) way to get your fix of this hot crunchy snack! I mean why would you? Everyone knows that radishes are easy-peasy to grow from seed - they're always being recommended for children to try because they are so quick (although as a little aside, I don't know why - have you ever seen a child eat and enjoy a radish?!?) I guess you could wow your dinner party guests by asking them to harvest their own radishes at the dinner table - I could just see a little row of orange punnets down the centre of the table!

I am sure I remember my dad or someone else telling me to never buy root crops as seedlings because the action of transplanting would ruin the root structure and check them so severely they would not grow as they should. Well I have grown beetroot from seedlings (great), chioggia (great), onions (great most of the time), carrots (not so great) and parsnips (still in the ground with enormous leafy tops but no root as yet). I think its all about careful soil preparation, careful transplanting and diligent follow up care; particularly with watering. I can justify buying beetroot, carrot, onion and parsnip seedlings where you get about 20 seedlings in a punnet (or more!) but with radishes you get barely 8 seedlings! I think I'll just stick to growing them from seed.

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