Radishes: Nature’s Gift That Keeps on Giving

One of my gardening goals this year was to up my seed saving game. Doubling the size of our garden really helped with that because allowing crops to go to seed basically means abandoning them for months until they are overgrown, dried out, and full of seeds.

So I abandoned a few large radishes and a bed of lettuces and let them go to seed.

What I learned along the way was that you can eat much more than just the root of the radish in various stages of the plant's life.

First off, the leafy green tops of radishes are edible. They're slightly peppery and a little prickly, but they make great additions to soups, stir fry, side dishes, and kimchi.

They also make a great addition to dried herb blends if you dehydrate them and grind them up in a food processor and store them in a clean mason jar.

In addition to the leaves, the beautiful little purple, pink, and white flowers that bloom after about a month of abandoning your radishes are edible too! They're great on salads, stir fry, soups, side dishes, etc. as well.

Anything you want to add a pop of color to or make loom extra-special, you can garnish with radish flowers.

The last culinary treat the radish plant brings is radish pods. The pea-shaped pods that grow about a month after the radish flowers die off. They're bright green and crispy and have a light peppery radish flavor to them. I split them in half length-wise and garnish everything with them. They're especially tasty on tacos!

Eat some but let some dry out completely on the plant because this is where the seeds are. One radish pod will give you about 4 seeds and one radish plant will send up hundreds of pods so you could probably get enough food and seeds from just letting one sturdy radish go to seed after you've harvested the rest of your spring crop.

Once you've collected all the seeds, it's probably close to being time to plant more radishes again for your fall crop!

Thanks for reading! If this post inspires you to grow/eat more radishes, or to save your own radish seeds, please share!




Seed Starting Calendar

I’ve comprised a seed starting calendar for our area that I wanted to share with anyone who is wanting to try to grow their own food this year! If you don’t live in Tennessee, these specific dates won’t apply to you, but from what I’ve seen, our growing season starts about a month earlier than in the Midwest. So you may be able to start your seeds one month after what I have listed.

Last year was my first time having a garden large enough to feed our family of three all year long and I learned a ton through trial and error. One of the things I learned is that you don’t have to start all of your seeds at the same time and that you don’t have to wait until mid-April to transplant everything outdoors.

The other thing I learned was that the spring growing season is rather short. Since Tennessee winters are warm and summer temps settle in come May, certain cool weather crops (root vegetables, broccoli, greens, etc.) need to be in the ground come February and March if you want to get a good yield.

So now is a great time to start certain crops! But which ones?


To Start Seeds Indoors: Fill clean egg shells or seed starter kit with organic compost or potting soil. Plant two seeds per shell according to planting depth on back of seed packet then water and store in a warm place. (On top of the fridge is great as most seeds do not need sun to germinate. If your kitchen is cold, try placing your starts on top of a heating pad.) Once seeds sprout, you can move to a warm sunny window.
To Transplant Your Starts Outdoors: Harden off (introduce to sun incrementally) before you transplant outdoors, then remove soil pod from your egg carton or seed starter kit and plant into the ground. Press down soil around transplant firmly and water. Water as needed until roots are established then water according to instructions on back of seed packet.
To Direct Sow Seeds Into the Garden: 
Prepare garden bed by amending soil (add compost and/or sand and other organic matter) then place seeds in the soil according to recommending spacing on the back of the seed packet. Cover with soil and gently pat down to secure seeds in their spot. Water gently as to not move the seeds. Water once a day until sprout then water according to recommendations on back of seed packet.

My calendar only contains crops that I grow myself. Your list of garden vegetables might be very different than mine, so please consult this comprehensive list to find out the start dates for dozens of other vegetables, herbs, and flowers!

Thanks so much for stopping by and if this post helped you, please share! For video tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Instagram!

Happy Planting!