Growing Pod Radishes
Edible podded radishes are sometimes called rat's tail radishes from the shape of the radish seed pods. The pods have the same spicy bite and crispness as radish roots. However, they produce over a longer period and can be planted in spring and grown through the summer.
About Radish Pods
All radishes form seed pods. The pods are edible, but a few varieties of radish have been bred specifically for the pods. They look like regular radishes, although taller and with seed stalks that can be a little floppy. Unlike regular radishes, you don’t care if edible podded radishes bolt with the heat. You also have the benefit of butterflies when they’re in flower.
Growing Pod Radishes
Edible podded radishes need almost the same growing conditions as their bulbous cousins. Give them fertile, well-drained moist soil with plenty of nutrients from compost or well-rotted manure. Full sun is best, but they can get by with some shade if they get at least six hours of sun a day. Plant seeds about one inch deep; thin to 18 inches apart.
Edible Pod Radish Varieties
There are fewer varieties of edible podded than bulbous root radishes. Here are a few of the better known varieties:
- Rat’s Tail – this is the classic edible podded radish
- Dragon’s Tail – the pods of this variety are purple
- Singara – an heirloom from India with 14-inch pods
- Munchen Bier – a German variety that also produces edible roots
Managing Pod Radishes
Podded radishes grow quickly and produce for weeks. It’s best to succession plant, however. As the weather warms, they will form pods more quickly. Even a couple of hot days without harvesting can make them stop setting flowers. Keep those pods picked by checking the plants every day or so. The plants will grow three or four feet tall and should be staked.
When to Harvest
Pod radishes are best when harvested young. They are more tender and crunchy at that stage. Older pods may become fibrous and tough. Choose seed pods that are about four or five inches long and about the same diameter as a pencil. The Singara radish gets much longer, so harvest up to 10 or 12 inches.
Using Radish Pods
The edible pod radish can be used in the same way as a bulbous radish. Add to a crudite plate with a dip. In Germany, they are often served with beer. They can be stir-fried or added to stews. Although they remain crunchy when cooked, they do lose a little of their pungent, spicy kick. Edible podded radishes can also be pickled.