Chances are, there’s a hidden vegetable growing in your garden right now! If you grow radishes, then you’re well on your way to enjoying radish pods. So let me tell you why you should leave some of your radishes in the ground and let them flower into radish seed pods!
I love talking about vegetables that people have never heard of. You’d be surprised at just how many vegetables there are out there that you can’t get at the grocery store. From berries to root vegetables, western cuisine doesn’t branch out much from our favouites.
Today, I want to share one of those secret veggies with you. Radish pods!
These come from leaving radishes in the ground, making them one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Anyone who has a pot of soil can grow radish seed pods. Seriously, they’re that easy.
This post will cover…
- Discovering Radish Pods
- What Are Radish Pods?
- How to Grow Radishes
- When to Harvest Radish Pods
- More Edible Plants to Grow
Discovering Radish Pods
A few years ago, I volunteered at the Intergenerational Land and Learning Program at UBC. While no longer active, it would bring inner-city kids to the UBC farm to learn about growing food.
In Vancouver, gardening space can be limited, with community garden waitlists taking years. Many adults don’t have access to outdoor spaces, so many of their kids don’t learn much about gardening, which is why this program was so great!
The program began during the school year, where kids would head to the farm every second week. In the beginning, they would have lots to harvest right away from the kids who planted stuff at the end of the school year. They would also learn how to cook the things they were harvesting.
They would plan the garden beds during the winter and then plant in the spring. But come summer, they would take their summer vacation, just like school.
This meant the garden would have a couple of months to go wild. One of the special treats that would be ready for the kids was the radish pods!
What Are Radish Pods?
When you let your radishes go, you end up with radish pods. As late radishes, they would have eventually bloomed into whitish flowers and then grow big seed pods, known as radish pods. They almost look like edamame!
Every part of the radish is edible and has that slightly spicy radish taste to them. I eat them as sprouts, microgreens, radishes, flowers, and then the pods. The pods and the radishes are what have the best flavour!
It goes to show that you can get quite a bit of food from one plant. You’ll never find radish pods for sale at the grocery store, and they remain a gardener’s secret. Whether it was a serendipitous accident like letting radishes grow too long or discovering them in a community garden, they’re a surprise treat.
So if you have found that you planted more radishes than you can eat, and didn’t do succession planting, don’t be afraid to let some continue growing and go to seed as radish pods. You can still enjoy them later!
How to Grow Radishes
Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. And because they can mature in less than a month, they’re one of the first veggies ready for the season. You can begin planting 4-6 weeks before the year’s last frost. Direct sow radishes. No need to start them indoors!
But remember, you can continue planting radishes throughout the season. They do like cool soil, so they grow best in the spring and fall. Plant them every 1-2 weeks for a continuous harvest.
Since they mature so fast, I like to sprinkle them between other veggies in the garden whenever there’s an opening. They don’t need full sun to thrive, so they can grow happily in the shade of other taller veggies. That being said, they do best in full sun.
When growing your radishes, make sure to thin them out so there is a two-inch gap between each plant. But save those seedlings! The microgreens can be snipped (not pulled out) and used on top of sandwiches and salads.
When to Harvest Radish Pods
Before the seeds mature, they are tender and juicy. They pop in your mouth almost like caviar. The longer they mature on the plant, the tougher they will get.
You want to harvest the radish pods while they are still plump and before they start to dry out. You can pluck them off the plant with your hands or snip them from the stems using scissors.
To enjoy them, you can eat them raw like you would a snap pea or use them in stir-fries, soups, or salads. You can even pickle them! Follow this guide for how to pickle radish seed pods.
And that’s the low-down on radish pods! Have you ever grown them in your garden? Was it on accident or on purpose? Let me know in the comments below.