Now that all of the radishes have been harvested and the bed has been cleaned out, I thought I would talk about our first crop.
This year we are doing variety testing where we test which varieties of different vegetables grow best in our climate, soil, etc., and which ones produce the most uniform, appealing crop. Before we increase our scale, we need to know which vegetable varieties will be the most successful. As Leigh mentioned in a previous post, we tried two varieties of radish this year—Early Scarlet Globe and Plum Purple. We got both varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, a seed house outside Decorah, Iowa. Both had a great taste and weren’t too woody, but one was a clear winner.
The Early Scarlet Globe matured evenly and put more growth into the root (the edible part of a radish) than the tops. It also was spicy enough to have a good flavor, but wasn’t too spicy. The Plum Purple had a great color, but it didn’t produce as many radishes per foot of row and some were quite spicy. Also, many of them grew large, numerous leaves but only had a small, inedible root. Fortunately we planted three times as much of the red variety as the purple.
So what does this mean for the future? Well, I still have half of the red variety seeds and so this fall I will plant another crop of that variety. In future years we will probably plant the Early Scarlet Globe variety as our main radish variety, but I still want to try out some other varieties to get a diversity of colors. Johnny’s Selected Seeds has a few hybrid radishes in non-red colors that could be promising.
In the meantime we have a lot of other vegetables to try. We already have the kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the ground and there are many others that will be going out soon, including five varieties of tomato. We’ll keep posting as the year progresses and more things are harvested.