Posted 16th Apr 2015
We find out how to grow shallots and radishes in containers to turn a small garden space into a vegetable garden paradise with the help of One-Pot Gourmet Gardener book by Cinead Mcternan
Radish & Shallot Pickle
A great little pot that will not take up too much space and will provide you with the ingredients by mid-summer to make a tangy, crunchy pickle as an addition to cold meats, cheeses and sandwiches. This recipe uses a mixture of red, pink and white radish, but purists can use traditional red-skinned types.
6 x shallot ‘Pesandor’ sets
1 x packet of radish ‘French Breakfast 3’ seed
1 x 30-cm/12-inch-diameter container
Multipurpose or soil-based compost
General organic vegetable fertilizer
Plant in early spring; sow in late spring and early summer
• Fill the container with compost and fertilizer in a sheltered, sunny spot.
• Use your finger (or dibber if you have one) to make a hole for each shallot set, in a zigzag pattern across the centre of the container. Make the holes just deep enough to allow the growing tips to peep just above the soil. Feel free to plant them a little more closely together than convention suggests: a 15-cm/6-inch space between them will give you slightly smaller bulbs.
• Direct-sow the radish seed in the container in early summer, sprinkling it all over the surface of the compost around the shallots – you should aim for a good, even coverage.
• Water the container well after sowing and as the plants grow.
TIME TO HARVEST
The shallots set the harvest date for this container. Wait until their leaves turn yellow and lift a week or so after. As both radish and shallots will be harvested and used for the pickle, do not worry too much about drying the shallots on the compost surface to let their skins harden – that is only necessary to help them to keep longer in storage.
Radish & Shallot Pickle
Makes 2x 200ml jars
150ml cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons honey
20 radishes, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seed
• Sterilize the two preserving jars by heating them in the oven (lids separate) for 10 minutes at 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1.
• Add the cider vinegar, water, salt and honey to a saucepan and heat gently until the honey dissolves.
• Fill the jars with the radish, shallot, peppercorns and fennel seeds and pour the hot liquid into them.
• Seal with the lids, covering each lid with a disc of waxed paper and allow to cool.
• Leave for a day before eating; this pickle may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Extract taken from One-Pot Gourmet Gardener by Cinead Mcternan, published by Frances Lincoln, is available at all good book stores, RRP £16.99.