The Misery (And Joy) Of Radish Seed

There are 2 kinds of Radishes

  • Spring Radishes – small, round and ready in 3 to 4 weeks from sowing. You can plant them all summer if you treat them right
  • Winter Radishes – larger radishes and daikon that are sown midsummer for fall harvest. These store well through the winter.

Both are in the Raphanus sativus species.and they are crossers.

That’s right, they will all cross pollinate if you let them flower very close to one another.

The most important thing about saving radishes is always dig them up to inspect the roots. Only let the best radishes go to seed!

Sow your spring radishes early in the season. They can take a frustratingly long time to reach mature seed in shorter seasons.

Winter radishes do not offer the same frustration. If you’re set up to store winter radishes through the winter, all you have to do is plant them in the spring and they will explode into seed pods.

There is one reason I don’t recommend radishes for beginning #seedsavingformarketgrowers:

It can be miserable to clean radish seed.

The pods are foamy and squishy and don’t readily shatter like other brassica seed pods.

It took me years to learn that radish pods needed to be extra dry to thresh and then I would put the pods in a bin and then crush them into oblivion under a series of kicks and stomps.

We have since converted a soil shredder (kind of like a wood chipper) into a stationary thresher. This really increased our radish seed success and reduced my frustration levels.

The PROS of growing Radish seed:

  • Easy to grow extra in your market garden and choose the best for seed
  • Spring Radishes are ANNUAL – from seed to seed in 1 season
  • There are great open pollinated varieties

The CONS of Napus seed:

  • Sow Spring Radishes early so they have time to get to seed
  • Winter Radishes are BIENNIAL- you need to get these plants to year 2
  • Crossers – only grow one in about a 1000ft radius
  • Hard to thresh pods – make sure they are extra dry before you start threshing


5lbs to 10lbs from a 100ft bed


4 to 6 years

More about Saving Radish Seed

Winter and Spring Radishes.

Saving Radish Seed With Gusto!

Living The Radish Breeding Dream

R is for Radish.

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