Common Name: Radish (Raphanus sativus)
Seed Saving Level: Advanced ~ Radishes are insect-pollinated plants that will cross with all radish varieties.
Planting: Sow directly 1/2 inch deep, 1 inch apart. when seedlings are about two inches tall, thin the plants to 3-inch spacing. If not thinned, you're likely to end up with shriveled, inedible roots. Radishes can be planted every 2-3 weeks for successive planting. Take a break over summer (radishes don't like heat). Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Harvesting: Radishes can be harvested in just 3 weeks for some varieties. Look for firm, smooth, bodies, bright colors and healthy, green leaves.
Seed Saving: White or purple and white flowers will appear prolifically and are very attractive to bees. After the flowers fade, the seedpods form. Green at first, they turn tan as the seeds mature and the plant dries. Harvest stalks when the pods are dry. Hang upside down in a bag to catch seeds or lay on a sheet to dry. Rub dried pods in your hands or gently crush or flail. Winnow to remove chafe.
Sources: Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth, Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, burpee.com, Almanac.com.
Books and ebooks:
- Rah, Rah, Radishes!
- Buried Treasure
- Indoor Kitchen Gardening
- The Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Gardening
- Radish, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, opens a new window
- Radish, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S, Department of Agriculture, opens a new window
Recipe: Spaghetti With Root-To-Leaf Radish
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 4 red radishes with their greens
- 3 oz farro spaghetti or whole wheat
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 anchovy fillet, chopped (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 very small onion or large shallot lobe, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Sea salt
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp grated parmigiano-reggiano
Put a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, shaking the pan and tossing the nuts. Keep them moving, so they don’t burn. Transfer to a plate to cool (or they will burn). Trim and scrub radishes, and cut from the greens. Cut the radishes in half, then into 1/4-inch-thick half moons. Trim along the stems from the greens and thinly slice the stems. Stack the greens, roll them tightly, and slice them.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti until it is slightly underdone, since it will cook further in the sauce. Meanwhile, pour olive oil into a medium skillet set over med heat, and when the oil starts to simmer add the anchovy and sauté briefly to let it flavor the oil, then add the garlic and onions and sauté until tender. Stir in the sliced radishes, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until they have just started to become tender. Add the radish greens and cook until they wilt. Drain the pasta and add it to the radish at medium heat. Add lemon juice and zest, and stir, adding some pasta water to create a creamy sauce. Taste, add salt and ground pepper. Plate and sprinkle with pine nuts and cheese.
Source: Eating Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook (2013) by Joe Yonan.