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Garden-Fresh Radishes in Winter?

Yours if you build a cold frame

You can now pick fresh, crisp ruby-red radishes from your cold frame, as well as spinach, lettuce and green onions. If you have a cold frame, that is. If not, here are instructions so you won’t miss out next year.
    In early November of 2011, I sowed radish seeds in my cold frame. I built it from a sliding glass patio door. The glass door is hinged on a 33-inch-tall timber wall to the north and slopes toward the south to within 12 inches of the ground. You can use a smaller window to make a smaller cold frame.
    Since I have green onions growing at the back of the cold frame, I sowed three rows of radishes approximately six inches apart between the onions and the frame’s front.
    I kept the frame wide open until about the first week in December, when I lowered the glass door to about an inch-wide crack at the south end. Shortly after Christmas, I closed the cold frame tightly. Just prior to closing, I watered it thoroughly. That was the only watering since sowing the seeds. I have opened the cold frame only to check on the radishes.
    Radishes are considered a short day plant, meaning they produce the enlarged tasty root only when daylight hours are 12 hours or less. Thus, I theorized radishes could be another crop home gardeners could grow in their cold frames during late fall and winter. The radishes take longer to develop than when grown in the spring garden, but they are equally flavorful and crisp.
    Most radishes produce an edible root in 20 to 25 days. But fall- and winter-grown radishes take longer because daylight hours are short. As daylight hours grow longer, they will grow faster.
    I am planning on sowing a second crop as soon as this crop is mostly harvested.

Time to Prune Blackberries

    Now that most of the leaves on blackberry plants have dropped, you might as well prune. It’s a simple job. First, remove the oldest canes, which are easy to tell by their brownish shredding bark. Prune them down to the ground line. Second, select the strongest three to four canes and prune away all the weak spindly canes. To control height, I generally cut the remaining canes to within five feet of the ground. Third, prune back the side branches from each remaining cane, leaving only two or three buds per side branch. Finally, loosely tie the cluster of canes around a fence post or stake.


Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.