Black Spanish Radish
The Black Spanish Radish (also known as Noir Gros de Paris) is a plant of the cruciferous family, and is an Heirloom crop. It is a hardy annual as well. It has been used for generations as both a food and for medicinal purposes. For hundreds of years Radishes have been used as a traditional remedy for gallbladder problems, impaired bile function and digestive problems in China and Europe. For this reason, scientists and doctors alike have given the Black Spanish Radish a lot of attention. In addition, there are potential liver-detoxifying properties that come from the taproot of this radish. It induces detoxification enzymes in tested liver cancer cell lines.
With gorgeous black skin and a white internal flesh, the Black Spanish Radish has 3-4 inch turnip-shaped globes. Their taste is crisp and spicy. It is a winter radish that grows longer and larger in size over time than their spring radish cousins. Due to the skin's sharp bite, you can peel the black skin away for a milder radish flavor.
Believed to be a relative of the wild radish, the Black Spanish Radish was first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean. They were even grown in Egypt before the pyramids were built as excavations have discovered. Just as other varieties of radishes, they are easy to grow, but can take longer to grow during the winter season.
Caterpillars, especially the cabbage butterfly, are some of the top pests of the Black Spanish Radish. Using netting over the bed can prevent them from getting in the garden and eating the leaves. They can also be effected by single-celled organism that deforms the roots and makes it difficult for the plants to soak up water. This is called club-root and takes some serious soil treatment to cure. Keeping a strict crop rotation can prevent this.
French Breakfast Radish
While most of us don't think of the radish as a breakfast food, it is somewhat common for Europeans to eat raw vegetables in early or midday as a way to rid the body of toxins. This particular breed of half fuschia and half white radish also known as Les Radis Petit Déjeuner makes for a mild, yet slightly spicy treat. With essentials Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, folate, iodine, iron, and potassium, it is an extremely healthy choice. And because of its oblong shape and 2-4" size, it can be a fun finger food for kids. You could even say they are shaped like fingers! While some radish lovers do tend to eat them raw, they can be sauteed with butter and salted, pickled or fermented in kimchi recipes, added to potato salads, or roasted, just to name a few. The greens can be used in salads, soups, pastas or juices. These lovely radishes are paired well with creams and cheeses. The popular food blog, Killing Thyme suggests an interesting recipe for toast topped with cream cheese and French Breakfast Radish slices.
When you decide to grow the French Breakfast Radish, you will find that it is relatively easy and almost foolproof. It is generally planted and harvested in spring or fall, as this will contribute to your radishes having the most crisp texture and mild flavor. Planting in the cooler months will ensure the roots don't get too hot as this can impede root formation. With a growth time around 3 weeks (or 20 days), they are a great addition to any garden.
Regular weeding and watering will ensure a decent growth season, but be sure not to over-water a radish plant as this will contribute to rotting and will attract some pests such as root maggots. Adequate drainage is essential. Aphids may also be a nuisance but they can be easily rinsed off the leaves if found early enough. Because of the radish being a fast growing plant, pests are usually not much of an issue.
This strain of radish hasn't yet been made a popular American favorite, but once you try this mild, crisp and creamy root, you'll be glad you did.
German Giant Radish
Most people have heard of the radish, but did you know that it was domesticated in pre-Roman times? Radishes have been grown and eaten all over the world for thousands of years and varieties vary by color, size, shape, and flavor. One of the largest is the German Giant Radish, an heirloom open-pollinated Amish variety developed in Germany.
The German Giant (Raphanus sativus) is truly a garden whopper. It matures quickly, in as few as 29 days, and its attractive round scarlet globes grow to 1-3 inches; that's giant! These radishes keep their wonderfully mild flavor and perfect roundness no matter how large they grow. Inside, their white slightly tangy flesh stays firm and crisp, even when large, never becoming spongy, pithy or cracking. Harvest them whenever they reach a preferred size and store them in cool moist conditions.
The German Giant thrives in cool weather and is perfect for a spring and a fall crop. Sow the seeds outdoors in fine stone-free soil in early spring to early summer, when temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed. Make successive sowings every two weeks until the summer heat begins. Then plant again as temperatures cool for a fall crop. This radish also makes a fine border plant for slower germinating crops such as carrots and it grows well beside peas, lettuce and spinach. Do not plant near cauliflower or cabbage.
The German Giant is a low-maintenance crop and usually very easy to grow. It prefers well-drained slightly acidic soil with some added compost, but avoid adding excess nitrogen. Too much nitrogen promotes leaf growth instead of the desired root production. The German Giant has few natural pests; water only in the morning, water evenly, and keep mulch and garden debris well back from plants to discourage pill bugs.
Radishes are a great source of Vitamin C; they also provide Vitamin B6, folate, fiber, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iodine. Radishes are often eaten raw, whole or sliced into a fresh garden salad. They can also be sauteed in butter for 10 minutes and seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled in aluminum foil with butter and garlic cloves till tender, or pickled in a mixture of white wine, vinegar and water with fresh herbs. A delicious radish butter is an easy way to keep the flavor going all year long. Chop into tiny pieces 15 radishes, 2-3 cloves of garlic and favorite fresh herbs such as parsley or oregano. Using a food processor works well. Add the chopped ingredients to one and a half sticks of softened butter. Use fresh on toast or on cooked pasta; or freeze the butter to use later for a mid-winter treat!
Easter Egg Radish
With a tag from the Greek word for "fast appearing," radishes (Raphanus sativus) are aptly named. Like others in the family, Easter egg radishes reach maturity in just 30 days, and they bring a pop of color to salads and other dishes.
Originating in China and then moving to Greece and Egypt, these treats once served as payment to ancient pyramid builders. Residents of Oaxaca, Mexico appreciate radishes enough to give them their own festival, known as la noche de los rabanos.
These yummy white-fleshed root vegetables have skin colors that range from white to pink to crimson to purple, all in the same bunch. The green leaves, which grow from the roots above the ground, are also a delicious addition to your cooking.
Easter egg radishes are round, and, when picked when they reach the size of a large marble -- about 1 inch in diameter -- they are crisp and have a mild flavor. They grow rapidly when they get plenty of moisture, although they don't thrive in hot, dry weather. Radishes are susceptible to flea beetles and cabbage root maggots, but you can control the pests with floating row covers when you plant the seeds.
Radishes are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, zinc, and dietary fiber, and they contain enzymes that promote good digestive health and have anti-fungal properties. They also have only 20 calories in a 1-cup serving. For a simple, delicious snack, serve them sliced with bread and butter. You can also dip them in melted butter and then let them rest on parchment paper until the butter sets.
Watermelon Radish is grown as an annual crop. Annuals will produce crops within a single growing season, later dying with the first killing frost. If allowed to bolt, the plants will produce fresh seeds which can be used to regrow Watermelon Radishes the following year.
Purple Plum Radish
Purple Plum was originally released in 1985, by the Alf Christianson Seed Company, located in Washington. Purple Plum Radish is grown as an annual crop. Annuals will grow quickly, producing leafy tops and small roots within a single growing season. If left to bolt, the plants can produce seeds for the following growing season.
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You may be interested in our article "What are Hybrids, GMO's & Heirlooms?"