Radishes grow so quickly, I grow several generations of them during spring and fall. Now that I live in a cooler climate, I may manage some during summer as well. Radishes are an easy cool season vegetable that grows anywhere.
I admit to loving radishes and eat them all year long. In the winter I seed and reseed Cherry Belle radishes for microgreens, and they are perfect for that. This spring I will plant Cherry Belle outside and allow enough to go to seed to provide winter greens next year.
Since I have a nice cool climate and designated space in my potager for radishes, today I ordered new varieties from rareseed.com to try new tastes and for seed saving. Monsanto is buying up heirloom seed companies, so I will increase my seed saving this year and forward.
The first radish is from northern China, Chinese Green Luobo which is green and white. It can have a Wasabi taste, which I look forward to trying. Luobo is a rare old Chinese standard and worth a try for seed collection. It loves cool weather, in plentiful supply here in the mountains. I will ensure pure seed by planting different varieties in succession, and keep seed from some of each.
I ordered Leda Radish, a European variety that is yellow outside with a white interior. It is good in stir fry, including the greens.
For a summer variety, I ordered Pusa Jamuni Radish. It has an amazing purple interior, and was developed in India to increase nutrient density in poor people’s crops. I’m poor enough, I’d say. I can use a nutrient dense radish in my collection. This is another candidate for seed saving, of course. It is said to be more heat tolerant than radishes in general, but I will try these during both cooler and warmer seasons, hoping for a delicious radish when days are warm but nights are still cool.
At this time I want to keep my various radishes varieties separate and will take care to plant them to bloom at different times. I am not planning to create a combined radish. Collecting and saving seed in itself is creating an heirloom variety better suited to your own conditions. All radishes are likely to grow well in my cool climate.
For those of you who have too much heat to grow radishes easily, I recommend trying to create a landrace species of your own. See what you get!
I also have White Icicle Radishes from my old garden. No problem, I will grow them for eating and seed collecting as well. No need to pass on an old standard when the new boys show up on the block.
My growing season doesn’t start until May, so ordering seeds the first of March gives me plenty of time to get them all into the ground. Don’t forget to plant easy radish seeds in the fall also.
As for collecting seeds, the last spring sowing generally has some bolt and go to seed… sad to see them end their season, but a great time to collect and store seed. If you want a little more heat resistance, get seed from the last one to bolt, even a day or three will extend future generations. I never collect seeds from the first to bolt, but do not eliminate it entirely either. Diversity.
I a lot more space to radishes because I like them so much. If you have never tried tender radish greens, please do, they are very nutricious and taste wonderful. I will try all greens on these varieties to see how they stand.
It would be awesome if radishes escaped and naturalized. Maybe in the cool Pacific Northwest.