This spring I started seeds of a long, red, Italian radish variety called ‘Candela di Fuoco.’ They did well enough considering the strange weather that season — I ate the crunchy roots and sautéed the greens.
When two stragglers bolted in the heat, I let them go and ate their flowers. The plants continued to grow all through the summer, forming into wild masses of tentacled branches, bitter leaves, pretty flowers, and seedpods. These too were edible, and we ate them fresh and crunchy straight off of the plant and in salads until they became hard, mature, and unpalatable.
These now inedible seedpods continued to grow and expand into the late summer months, first developing into thin, knobby witch fingers and later, turning dry and crisp. I harvested the fully matured pods, crushed them by hand, and packaged the seeds into envelopes with the intention to begin anew early next spring.
Amazingly, their story did not end here. There were too many seedpods for one person to catch (or bother with) and many seeds escaped. Those that jumped ship fell into the beds and into the mulch outside the beds. Some of them sprouted; I even ate a few. And as the winter cold and hard frost set in I let the rogue plants that remained be, believing that they would perish soon enough. However, while we have had some cold periods, the weather in Toronto has warmed up unseasonably a few times. Somehow, the radishes that remained in the mulch lived on. And not only did they live but they grew!
Imagine my surprise recently when I pushed aside some wet mulch and discovered several small, pinky-sized radish roots underneath. I ate them — they were good!