Radishes Blooming and Pruning Lettuce

Last week, I received a few e-mails about growing radish seed. Here are a few radishy answers for those questions. Also, I have been pruning lettuce leaves to increase ventilation.

Radish Seed

These radishes have begun to bloom. These are grown 2 rows/bed with 18″ in-row spacing. They seem to be smaller plants than some other radishes I’ve grown out. They might still bulk up, but I wonder if I could have planted them tighter.

I grow spring radishes (as opposed to winter storage radishes) as annuals:

  • We seed them densely and harvest a few weeks later.
  • Emily (Tourne-Sol radish buncher extraordinaire) selects those she likes by their for roots, stems and so forth. The rest go to market.
  • I haven’t tried this but Greta has told me to then put the roots in a bucket full of water and discard the floaters (too pithy!).
  • I top the chosen radishes and stash them in the fridge for 7-10 days. This simulates overwintering and gets the radishes to bolt at the same time.
  • I then transplant the radish stecklings (roots) to the field.

To successfully grow radishes as annuals for seed, I have discovered they need to be started as early as possible.  I found that when I seeded in early that after fridge time and stecklings getting established in the ground, the radishes only bolt in late July – doesn’t leave much time for plants to flower and set seed before fall rain.

This year we seeded radishes in a tunnel  in late March to get an additional month of seed growing potential.

You can read more about radishes in Principles and Practices  of Organic Radish Seed Production from  the Organic Seed Alliance. (Dowload the document free from their website.)

Pruning Lettuce

The lettuce plants I transplanted at the beginning of April are turning into leafy monsters. I went in on Monday and took off the outer leaves to let the air in. My continuous fear with lettuce is that it suddenly turns to jelly.

Red Iceberg lettuce. The two first rows have been cleaned up. Compare with the lettuce jungle in the back rows.

As I do this, I rogue out any slimy specimens.

I try to handle lettuce on a sunny windy day so the exposed plant stems can dry and heal before submitted to more damp overcast weather.

All this pruning creates a lot of leafy biomass.

Luckily, I have a few helpers who love to process such tender biomass.


5 thoughts on “Radishes Blooming and Pruning Lettuce

  1. hi Dan,

    About your piggyios – they look quite content. I see you have them in an electrified paddock. Are you rotating them around, to take advantage of their tendency to root? We’re keeping 2 this summer for the express purpose of opening up more land for cultivation. They are large black and something or other crosses, but they are quite young yet (40-45 lbs). At what point did yours take to greens? We’ve been augmenting their feed with all kinds of greens and they turn their little piggy noses up to it in favour of their grower ration. We’re actually growing zuch’s, pumpkin, kale & mangel, among other things for them. One other point about the enclosure – it seems pretty minimal – no visual deterrent whatsoever. I’m told that since pigs don’t “back up”, it’s a wise idea to have a secondary perimeter, if you will, that acts to visually indicate where the perimeter actually is. I see that you are using a ‘sliding wire’ post system so when the low wire is compromised (shorted) by their incessant earth moving, it can be slid up to a height where it is again effective. None of this is seedy oriented, but I was just curious. Cheerio, and brace yourself for the imminent heat wave!

    1. Hi Brian,

      We move the pigs to new pasture every week.It gives them new stuff to root up and helps keep odours down.

      We got them at 8 weeks old or so and put them on pasture immediately. Though, we gave them a lot less area to root up for the first week or so – this limited how much grass they ate. After that first week, we started giving them vegetable scraps and as much green as they wanted. So far, none of the pigs we’ve raised have eaten a lot of roots (carrots, beets, Jerusalem artichokes, …). They seem to prefer playing with them to eating away. That mixed ration we provide might be tastier!

      We place straw bales around the fence for the first couple weeks. This provides a secondary visual perimeter to help them learn about the electric fence. After two weeks, we move the bales and rely on the fence.

      Good luck with your hogs!

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