|Amethyst Radish Pods|
in my home garden!
For years, I grew the wonderful Rat Tail radish, which is grown for the big tasty edible pods rather than the tuberous roots. It has the ability to adapt very well to the intense heat of summer providing good eats all season long. While I liked the pods well enough, they packed a spicy heat and I tend to like my radishes more on the milder side of things. After doing a little research, I soon realized that all radish pods were edible and their flavors were as diverse as the roots themselves. Zlata radishes from Poland, Watermelon radishes from China, Amethyst, and Pink Beauty are among my favorites for their podding abilities and their wonderfully mild flavors.
Podding radishes were actually quite popular during the civil war era but gradually faded from American gardens in the early 1900's. In the late 1980's and especially in the last few decades more and more are realizing what a workhorse in the garden these plants can be. As a companion plant, they are invaluable. Radishes have the ability to lure leaf miners away from spinach and lettuce, flea beetles away from eggplants, and some even say they assist at repelling the dreaded squash vine borer. While in flower, they attract a wealth of beneficials to your garden, increasing productivity of everything from melons and cucumbers to tomatoes and peppers.
|Radish pods past their prime|
http://yougrowgirl.com/pickledradishseedpods/ - link to pickled radish pod recipes
Green Meadows Healthy Garden Tip:
Growing radishes for their tasty pods requires very little care. If the soil was amended appropriately before planting, just a little extra starter fertilizer or compost tea will keep them happily producing. It is possible to use the same spacing of 3" apart in all directions (common recommendation for radishes) and then just thin young roots to a final spacing of six inches. This gives you the benefit of having something to harvest now and something to harvest later. The radish root itself can easily reach the size of a hardball and plants often become two feet tall. All parts of the pod are edible. Depending upon the variety of radishes chosen, they can require minimal support comparable to a small pepper cage. Support should be placed while the plant is small. If you allow the pods to become too large, they do get tough, lacking good flavor and texture. Simply pick those off and discard. New tender pods will shortly follow.
If you would like to follow along and watch them develop, check out Area 96 in the garden within the coming weeks. A big thank you goes out to all those helping prep that area and to those who are volunteering to assist in the future. We truly are a wonderful community!
Denise, Beds 25 & 29