Saturday, May 24, 2014

Harvesting the radish seeds

Today we have a guest post from my wife regarding the radish seed harvest:

How do you know when a radish plant has wrapped up it's reproductive cycle and is ready for the harvesting of seeds? Let us examine our plant.

Well, the radish was basically falling over at this point and overall looking quite sad. There were not that many green leaves left and the honey bees had long ago stopped visiting. Flower petals were scattered on the ground. The pods that had formed were in some cases browning in color, not exactly on the dry side, and while some pods were easy to snap off, others were not. Additionally, a majority of the pods were still looking green overall. Several spiders had taken up residence and were scaring away the human children.  The plant was tipping over even after bracing. The hot sun and afternoon thunderstorms were not necessarily drying out the pods, and it was languishing in the garden in the heat. In other climates the onset of cold weather would help this plant finish up it's cycle, but since we do not have winters here, this plant was trying to keep up staying alive while at the same time producing it's seeds. To us, it was in some sort of state of limbo. What to do?

A quick scan over on YouTube did not yield much help as far as when to know for sure that it is time to harvest the seeds. Although I did watch a video and learn that people eat the green pods and that they are quite delicious. We did not do this. So onto the open internet I went and found here a helpful resource. Additionally, I also own this book by Suzanne Ashworth. This book is a good resource overall regarding the harvesting of seeds of any plant.

So here we go. Time to pull the plant.

We had several barefoot "Site Supervisors" running around underfoot ensuring the job was being done properly. There was a lot of propping up of shovels.They are ready for a future government job.

Once we separated the seed branches from the main stem, the plant was really beginning to resemble some sort of alien. The site supervisors got busy examining (playing) with what was left and the adults went ahead and began bundling up the separated seed pods with string.

The recommendation is to get these out of the direct sunlight and into a cool dry place. We have a semi-warm moist place to hang them so that will have to do. This place is also known as the garage. And here we have the final step, where the seed pods are currently hanging out:

As of today, the seeds have been hanging out for maybe 2-3 weeks and everything has really turned brown and dry. You can read more information on our progress with this plant here.  The variety of radish that we have been growing is the Cherry Belle. These do have a quite a lot of kick to them.

We hope that you have a very nice Memorial Day weekend with your family and friends. If you decide to serve salad, don't forget the radishes.

Happy Gardening,