Radish Surprise

radish close

A volunteer radish–I think it is a daikon–sprouted up in a little clear pocket of our yard. We let it go, ignored it. It grew bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Usually a radish is harvested early, so we never see how big they can get.

This one got huge, then burst out into hundreds of tiny purple flowers. Hummingbirds, honey bees and all sorts of flying insects visit it all day, every day. It has become one of the queens of the garden.

The picture below is horrible. The radish plant really is quite pretty,  the equal of any ornamental flowering shrub–but as bad is the picture is, it gives you some scale. See the bales of our straw bale garden behind it?  I think it must be pulling water from there, which accounts for its size and longevity. It’s gone a little past its prime now– a couple of weeks ago the blooms were thicker.

By the way, radish blossoms are tasty food for people, too.

radish flower

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15 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I’m the only one in my family that eats radishes, so I always have half a seed packet left after the springtime sowing. I’ll plant them now in front of my peas and let them grow as far as they want to. When done, I’m sure the chickens will enjoy pecking through them. There’s no such thing as garden waste when you have chickens.

  2. I let radishes go to seed all over my yard. I started to when I read that they are a good catch crop to plant near cucumbers. I kept it up because I like to eat the greens, and then the little broccolis that form before the flowers open, and then the flowers, just as Kelly says. The blooms for different radishes are different colors, i have white ones and yellow ones right now. And yes, the pollinators love them too!

    • To be fair, it’s possible one or more younger plants sprouted in its shade and contribute to the overall bulk. Last I remember, though, there was only one plant!

  3. That is just gorgeous. I think I have radish seeds. It never crossed my mind that radish plants could be so large or tall. I let turnips go after they were no longer good for the greens and the plant was three feet tall with tiny yellow blossoms. When I pulled them and threw them in with the hens, they immediately started stripping the plant.

  4. Did the same thing over here in the bay area. I had a crop of radishes in the spring (volunteers). Let many of them go to seed like this, and then did a cut-and-drop on them at the same time I harvested fava beans. Left lots of beautiful mulch for my plum tree and eggplant seedlings. Instead of dying off, the radish stems resprouted, some new seedlings came up, and now I have a second crop of beautiful flowers for the pollinators. Might do one more cut-and-drop as the whole side yard is about hip-high again.

  5. I’ve learned to let both radishes and carrots go to seed here and there around the garden. They both attract untold numbers of tiny pollinators – the carrots even more than the radishes. Since I’ve started doing “messy” things like this, I’ve noticed fewer garden pests too.

    • Yes, I also think it helps with pests, keeps the garden balanced. Those carrot family plants really draw in the pollinators. Our fennel is a major attractor — same flowers.

  6. After the flowers have gone to seed, collect some of the seeds and sprout them – a mighty tasty addition to salads!

    • I do this with wild radishes. It didn’t even occur to me to wait an do this here, I guess because I learned about it in the wild and couldn’t change context. Too funny. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Pingback: The tale of the worm bin parsley | Root Simple

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