Harvesting spring radishes for seed production

Harvesting spring radishes for seed production.

1??  What is the perfect French Breakfast radish? Cylindrical with a bit of a narrow top. Nicely defined colours with a clear transition. A short white tip. It’s good to define what you’re selecting for right from the start.

2??  Radish beds ready to be pulled.

3??  Harvest begins

4??  We drop the radishes in piles of 15 on the ground so we can keep a count of how many radishes we’ve pulled. Next we twist off most of the radish tops by hand leaving a couple inches of leaves. 20 piles of 15 go into each bin. (That’s 300 radishes.)

5??   Topped radishes go into bins. And these bins are off to the cold room for 10-14 days to go through a mini winter. Just enough to vernalise spring radishes so they sync up and start flowering at the same time when we replant them in the field.

6??  And once the French Breakfast radish are done – it’s time for the round Raxe Radishes!!!

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5 thoughts on “Harvesting spring radishes for seed production

  1. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for this timely post. We are growing spring sown radishes for seed for the first time this year.

    Have you ever grown spring radishes without the vernalisation step? If so, what happened? I expect most spring sown radishes would bolt easily in your area without this step, and that they key there is getting them to sync up flowering that would otherwise be less in sync.

    If you were going to plant your radishes back out without the vernalisation step, would you still remove their leaves? Seems like it would be a good idea to help the plants reestablish but thought I’d ask.



    1. Hey Sarah!

      You’re right, the vernalisting is to get the flowering all synced up.

      Spring radishes do happily bolt where we are. They just don’t all bolt at the same time.

      It’s been many years (10 years, 15 years, ???) since I’ve grown radishes without putting them in the cold room for a couple weeks so I don’t really have much memory of doing it any other way.

      If I was going to skip vernalisation, I think I would still remove most of the leaves to reduce transplant shock.

      It’s probably not the end of the world if you leave them on – but I bet some of the leaves might die as the plant reestablishes its root system.

      If you were replanting radishes during a wet spell or into really wet soil, it might not make as much of a difference to remove the leaves.

      Good luck with your spring radishes!


      1. Thanks, Dan!

        I appreciate your response. If we had a cooler I would not skip the vernlisation step, but since we don’t have one I’m going to have to do without. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. This is my first ear gardening and I had no idea I coould harvest my radishes and then replant them in a different location for seed pods! I have random radish plants all over the place right now as I left 1 or 2 plants from each grouping of radishes that I grew since I wanted to taste the pods and save seed for microgreens. It’s complete chaos. Next year I’ll have to try this idea and move the sprawling plants out to a different parts of my garden so I can keep using the beds for other shorter harvest plants. I’ve got a couple of plants that made it to 6 foot tall and had delicious pods!

    Do you have any thoughts on if I can harvest the pods once they start to brown but aren’t fully dry yet, if I have saving them in a mesh bag that I hang up somewhere that gets good air flow? I really need to clear out the area they are growing in right now as a near by zucchini is starting to sprawl into the same space.

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