I was never a fan of white radish or radish as a whole. I started growing white radish because I thought it would be wonderful to use something that I grow for making kimchi. Although white radish (slim & long), also called daikon radish isn’t the exact radish that the Koreans use to make kimchi, hey anything’s better than none. Korean radish (무 mu) is rounder and shorter.
So, late last year, I bought a packet of white radish seeds at a hardware shop. I read that they grow easily and fast. True enough, they were really easy to grow and in 2½ months, I’d harvested thrice. See here, here and here.
Circa early March this year, I missed my harvest timing for two of the white radishes. So, I let them bolt, that is allow them to go into flower production which then produces seeds. This is achieved by letting the white radish plant grow until it reaches maturity and into old age. When the plants go into seed production, they won’t produce vegs/fruits and flowers anymore. Tip: To prevent bolting, just pinch off the flowers at their first sign. This is my experience in a hot and humid country.
Here are some of the photos that I took of the white radish plants during bolting (flower forming to seed production) and their end of life.
7th May 2023: This is about ~2 to 2½ months since both white radish plants start bolting. It was a long wait but the flower buds are finally ready to bloom.
7th May 2023: What it looks like at the leaves level.
16th May 2023: About a week+ later, the white radish flowers are blooming! 😍 These tiny light pink-white flowers consist of 4 petals. Unique indeed!
Then, it was another long wait (2 months!). While waiting, I was wondering if I would ever see the white radish plants go into seed production at all. I’ve never seen one so I don’t know what to expect.
5th July 2023: This is 2 months later from the 7th May date. As you can see the white radish plants are very mature. They are growing wildly & there are some dried up branches if you look carefully. But there are no seeds in sight still?!!
5th July 2023: Here’s a look at the condition of the tubers of the white radish.
5th July 2023: Another angle where you can see the tubers are turning dark. They are old.
5th July 2023: Despite that, beautiful white radish flowers are still blooming. It’s like having a continuous supply of wonderment greeting you at the front door every day.
5th July 2023: I’ve seen these pods about a month ago. Each time I break it open, there’s nothing inside. I thought perhaps these pods will turn into flowers.
15th July 2023: Another 10 days later, there are more pods.
15th July 2023: I tried opening the dried pod and wah la… there are seeds in there! So, that means if the pods are still green, the seeds have not formed. You need to wait for the pods to dry up and then you can harvest the seeds.
15th July 2023: The tubers meanwhile are drying up and shriveling.
15th July 2023: That means their time is up. So, I uproot both tubers and they rest at my gardening station aka car porch area, where nature will dry ’em up totally.
15th July 2023: Here’s the comparison between collected homegrown white radish seeds (bottom) and store-bought white radish seeds – where this radish mama came from (top). Two of the homegrown seeds are smaller in size and the other one is similar to store-bought size.
2nd August 2023: 2½ weeks later, here’s one of the dried up white radish plants complete with its ‘even more’ shriveled tuber, dried branches and leaves AND the dried pods! Now, it’s time to labor away by opening the pods one by one and harvesting the white radish seeds. I save the white radish seeds in a plastic container and keep them outdoors.
I compost everything in this photo (including the empty pods & tubers) by either putting them in my compost bottles, burying in the ground or directly sprinkle on my plants. Of course, as always I cut them into smaller sizes. Everything is back to nature!
The ~5 months spent observing the various stages of my radish plants from when they start showing signs of bolting to the end of their journey was a wonderful and valuable experience to be had. Of course, I witnessed their start in life as well. The complete lifecycle. Its ending ain’t sad for it has successfully reproduce. The human, birds or other animals will help spread the seeds and soon its first generation and the next and the next will germinate, prosper, reproduce, die and so on. Life!
I hope you enjoy what I shared.
p/s: I urge everyone to start experimenting, just grow something and allow it to bolt (some plants don’t though) and continue to the end. You’ll learn a lot!
pp/s: Does anyone have some Korean radish seeds to spare?