Planting Radishes

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A school holiday project for your junior gardener: Planting radishes.

The 2-week long school holidays interspersed through the year tend to leave parents and grandparents grappling for activities that are nurturing yet at the same time interesting for little inquisitive minds. Why not include some basic yet fun gardening activities into the next holiday program. Since today’s kids are used to seeing results in lightning speed, may we suggest a little project that will have them seeing the fruit of their labour before the end of their two-week holiday period.  The fruit reference is purely figurative since we are, in fact, talking about a vegetable, the much-loved little radish.

Sown from seed, radishes can be grow in pots or directly in the garden. They will grow faster in the latter though making it a good choice for this little experiment. They will need plenty of sunlight so choose your position well.  Nowhere is it written that you need to sow in a straight line so why not get your junior gardener to make holes following the shape of letters spelling out his name. Imagine the squeals of delight when out from the soil emerges a perfectly-shaped green-coloured TOM or KATE, for example.  Radish seeds like to be planted around 1 cm deep and will need an initial watering to help them settle in. It won’t take long before the seeds start germinating and grow into seedlings and if you want perfectly-textured tasty radishes, this is the point where you start watering them every day.

Why not get your young botanists to keep a Darwin-inspired daily journal filled with observations, measurements, daily watering logs (time of day and quantity), growth charts, pictures, pressed leaf samples and drawings.  The possibilities are endless and the end-product only limited to one’s imagination. 

Next thing you know it will already be time to thin out your seedlings to allow your little radishes plenty of space to grow - around 2.5 cm apart should suffice. Feel free to add the leaves of the seedlings that did not make the cut in your next salad. Let the kids know that if the bright red balls start making an appearance above the soil level there is no need to cover them up, they are quite happy where they are. They will be ready to eat between three to six weeks and although the taste of radishes is an acquired one, kids will be keener to try them if they have planted them from scratch.

Who knows, perhaps one day these moments will be looked back upon as a defining point in time when a passion for gardening began.