Black radish (Raphanus sativus subsp. Niger)

Black radish is an easy-to-grow vegetable

El black radish It is one of the most curious vegetables that we can find in a supermarket, but also in our garden. Although it is a different color from the one we are used to seeing and consuming, its requirements are the same as the common radish, with reddish skin.

In addition, among its characteristics we distinguish one that will surely be the most curious to you: is able to defend itself, and quite successfully, from insects that can quickly become pests, since inside it has some non-toxic chemical compounds that repel them.

Origin and characteristics of black radish

But first of all let's talk about what the plant is like. Knowing this information you can have a much clearer idea of ​​where you can grow it. So let's get to it: this is a variety whose scientific name is Raphanus sativus var Niger. This means that it is a variety of the common radish (R. sativus) who has black skin. For this reason, it is known as black radish, or also Erfurter radish.

Believed to be originally from Syria, although it is not very clear. It arrived in Europe around 1548, where it was widely cultivated until the beginning of the XNUMXth century. During the first half of that century it was almost forgotten, and today it is already considered an ancient radish variety. But that does not mean that it is not cultivated, far from it.

In fact, in recent times its popularity is increasing, since it is presented as a very good food for health, and from now on from our hands also as a simple plant to maintain.

Focusing on its characteristics, it must be said that it is an annual plant; that is, in just a few months it germinates, grows, blooms and dies after fruiting; although the normal thing is that it harvests long before the end of its cycle (approximately 55 days after sowing). It grows up to 50 centimeters tall, and develops an elongated or rounded root, with black skin and whitish flesh.

What are the uses of black radish?

There are many types of radishes, and one is black

Image - Wikimedia / Le grand Cricri

This is a food that can be eaten raw, either in salads or broth dishes (soups, stews). Its flavor is strong, so we recommend you take a small bite first, and in case it is too intense add a pinch of salt.

The skin can also be eaten, but only if it is in perfect condition. In the event that it has mold, it will not be suitable for consumption.

Black radish benefits

It is widely used in traditional medicine for control cholesterol and have a better functioning liver. It is also said to aid digestion.

There is a scientific study that speaks precisely of these benefits; Specifically it focuses on its potential to dissolve cholesterol gallstones. But if you have problems of this type you should consult a doctor.

Black radish cultivation

Do you want to grow it in your garden? Take note of what we will tell you below:

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Seeds can be sown from summer to fall, depending on the climate in your area. Keep in mind that they need heat to grow, so if it were the case that you sowed them in, for example, September, but there is frost in October, it is most likely that the seedlings did not grow enough, or that they even spoil.

But if the weather is warm in summer and mild in autumn, with a minimum of 10, 15 or 20 degrees Celsius, chances are that in a month or a month and a half you can collect its roots to prepare some recipes with them.

The step by step to follow is as follows:

  1. The first is to choose the seedbed, such as a seedbed tray (for sale here!) or in a pot like that they are much more controlled. Then fill it with seedbed substrate or mulch (for sale here!).
  2. The next step is to water. The soil must be completely moistened before sowing.
  3. Then, take two or three seeds, and place them on the surface of the seedbeds. If you've opted for a seedling tray, put 2-3 in each socket.
  4. Now, pour a little substrate on top, I repeat: just a little bit. The seeds should not be exposed to the elements, but neither should they be deeply buried. A thin layer of soil to protect them will be enough.
  5. To finish, we recommend putting a plate or a tray without holes under the seedbed. It will be there where we will pour the water every time we have to water.

Now all we have to do is place the seedbed in a sunny place.

Replication and transplantation

Radish is sown in summer

Image - Wikimedia / Rasbak

As the plants grow, If in the same pot we have put for example 3 and all three have come out, what we should do is keep the one or those that are better. And it is that if there is one that is weaker, that is, if there is one that is more backward and / or that has a much thinner stem than the others, it is possible that it cannot develop normally.

If you are lucky enough that all three are equally healthy, and they are also a little separated from each other, then you will have the opportunity to separate them and plant them in another pot. This is done as follows:

  1. First, expect them to have a minimum of 2-4 pairs of true leaves.
  2. Then carefully remove them from the pot.
  3. Now, take a little plant and, again with great care and delicacy, separate its roots from those of others.
  4. The next step is to plant it in a slightly larger pot, with substrate for an urban garden or mulch, in semi-shade. It will be there until it is fully rooted, that is, until the roots come out through the holes.

Planting in the orchard

Black radish does much better if it is in the ground, so as soon as it has rooted in the pot, what should be done next is to plant it in the garden. Even after the chime, if it is about 10 centimeters tall, it is a good idea to put it directly on the ground if the area where it will be is a little sheltered from the sun.

For that, The first thing is to prepare the soil: it must have a pH of 6.5 to 7 so that it grows in conditions. If it is lower (acid) or higher (alkaline) you will have to take action. Do not worry, here! We explain how to raise or lower the pH as appropriate.

It is important that stones and herbs are removed. Likewise, it is advisable to fertilize the earth, that is, to put a layer of about ten centimeters of mulch or worm castings for example. Then, make a hole and plant the radish, ensuring that it is well, that is, neither too high nor too low with respect to the ground level.

Finally, it will only be necessary to water. If you are going to plant few specimens, you can make a tree grate each with the same land from the garden; in this way every time you water them the water will concentrate on them.

Harvest

Harvest will be done when the top of the root sticks out of the ground, between 35 and 55 days after sowing. To be sure, you can dig around a bit to see how the roots are: if they are at least an inch thick and black or black, they are ready.

Once cleaned, you can store them in the fridge for three weeks at a temperature between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius.

What are the pests it can have?

It is susceptible to attack by:

  • Root worms (Delia fly larvae)
  • Cutworms (moth larvae, such as night pronuba)
  • Beetles of the Alticini tribe

How is it treated? For example with diatomaceous earth (for sale here!). Being a natural product that leaves no residue, you only have to spray the plant at sunset, when the sun is no longer shining, and sprinkle this product over it.

To eliminate rootworms it is better to use Cypermethrin 10%, especially if we suspect that the attack is being severe.

Where to buy black radish?

If you want, you can get seeds from here:


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