Our first harvest of the year is the French Breakfast Radish. As the name implies this particular radish is of French origin. It is first listed as appearing in the states in about 1875 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Our seed stock was purchased through the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa a few years ago and our current harvest is from our own personal seed stock.
The radish is a surprisingly healthy vegetable. It actually has numerous benefits attributed to it. It is credited with detoxifying the kidneys and liver. The radish also is believed to help combat certain types of cancer. Specifically colon, oral and stomach cancers. It is extremely high in vitamin C, an antioxidant. The leaves of the radish actually contain six times the amount of the vitamin C found in the root. This cruciferous vegetable also contains vitamin K and B. The radish happens to be a good source of calcium, potassium and iron as well.
As far as planting radish seed is concerned a little trick that we use in our gardens is to plant them with our carrot seed. Obviously the carrots need to be thinned over the course of a year in order to produce a nice crop. By planting an early crop such as the radish with the carrot it naturally thins the carrots to an extent. Later in the season when you harvest the carrots you can plant another rotation of the radish seed for a fall harvest thus doubling your yield.
If you happen to grow heirloom varieties like we do you can save your own seed. This is rather easy with the radish. Simply allow a few of the plants to sit in the garden the entire growing season. They will eventually bolt and the flowers will produce green pods that hold seed. Allow the pods to dry on the plant and remove the seed from the dry pod by breaking them open with your fingers. Discard any moldy or weak seed. You can store your seed in your fridge and use it the following season.