Monday, November 16, 2009

Garden Journal 11/16/09: Fall Radish Harvest (Such as It Is)

Yep, That's Pretty Much It

Realization of the Day:
I always seem to get massive cravings for whatever isn't growing in the garden.

This bizarre double specimen is a volunteer that popped up just outside the raised bed where I grew a bumper crop of French Breakfast radishes last spring (see photo below). A patch of beautifully colored Easter Egg radishes at the other end of the bed did really well, too. I scattered the seeds over a couple of square feet, and this worked out better than when I planted them in rows to delineate that bed of gourmet lettuce varieties two years ago (scroll down in that post to see the photos)—though it didn't look nearly as pretty.

I let several of the French Breakfast plants go to seed (I love those big fat radish pods), but just before the seeds were dry my well-meaning-but-slightly-maniacal mowing man (and all around handy and hunky farmguy who knows he has zero chance of being fired) unknowingly (I assume) zoomed over them with the brush mower.

Around Here We Encourage Growing Outside the Box

The rest of the nutrient-rich, yet bulbless, radish greens you see here will go to the foodie chickens—along with the volunteer kale which has literally been feeding them all year. Want to grow your own nutritient-packed green chicken food for nearly free? Simply sow a packet of kale seeds.

Back in August, I posted a recipe on Farmgirl Fare for this scrumptious Radish Cream Cheese Dip/Spread with Parsley, Scallions and Feta that I became addicted to about three bites into the first batch. (There's a photo of some of my Easter Egg radishes included in that post, too.) I'd planned to mention the recipe here at the same time, along with some radish growing tips, but that still has yet to happen, along with so many other things—including my fall radish planting.

French Breakfast Radishes Harvested on May 25th

Radishes aren't hard to cultivate, so you'll probably do fine without any help from me. What I can tell you is that every garden should have at least a few radishes in it. These fast growing, zippy little vegetables are ready to pick in about a month (making them a great crop for kids, especially since you get to yank them out of the ground) and are actually quite versatile in the kitchen. I love their crisp crunch and have always thought even the plain old ones were beautiful. You just have to remember one very important thing: be sure to actually plant your seeds!

I'm thinking of sowing a small patch of radish seeds this week in the greenhouse, along with some arugula (growing tips here) and cold-loving mache/corn salad, to see if I can get them to grow this late in the year (they thrive in cool, moist soil after all)—that is if I can find any available space in what has become a veritable Swiss chard jungle. Slightly scary but very edible. Jungle photos coming soon, along with yet another not-so-subtle-plea that you put Swiss chard on the mental seed order you know you're already working on.

In the meantime, I just might have to break down and buy some radishes from the grocery store because I've been craving this dip for months. With its cheerful red and green colors it would be a perfect—and healthy!—offering to have on hand during the upcoming holiday season.

You might also enjoy these other dips and spreads:
White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Rosemary, Romano, & Kalamatas
Chives and Herbed Yogurt Cheese
Sour Cream and Onion Dip (and Foodie Travel)
Ridiculously Easy White Bean Pesto Spread
Quick Refried Black Bean Dip
Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

Do you grow radishes? Any favorite varieties, amusing stories, or growing tips? How do you like to eat them?

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