Rat's tail radish

I love trying new plants each year -- especially in the veggie garden -- and this year one of the new ones is "Rat's Tail" radish. This edible podded radish doesn't produce much of a tuber, but its pods pack the same spicy punch as the traditional rooting radishes.


The main difference: whereas root radishes turn woody and terrible once they flower, this is one radish that you want to bolt and start producing seed pods!

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I have two of these heirloom plants in my yard: one in the fenced veggie garden, and one that never made it that far:


I left the seedling's container in one place for too long and it rooted in, so it's stuck here now. It's been producing flowers for over a month now:


They're quite nice too:


I was starting to question the labeling on the seed packet though, as I wasn't seeing any seed pods forming. It turns out that they're quite well camouflaged to my eyes:


I have to stare at the plant for a few seconds before I start seeing the bulgy yet tapering pods.


Chomp on the fat end of the pods (the pointy end is kind of woody), and you'll get the familiar radish burn. Zesty and delicious!

The swollen pods make it look like a couple of peas are forming in there, but the seeds are actually quite small:



I've read that these plants can be quite floppy, and my experience definitely confirms that. The accidentally-rooted plant is trailing over the sides of its raised bed -- see the first few photos in this post for confirmation of that.

The plant in the veggie beds is taking longer to get going, as it's just started to produce flowers:


It hasn't flopped over yet, but I wish it would get moving! I don't have much need for radishes, but these unique pods are a nice little treat when working in the garden. I bet they'd be good in salads too!


I haven't yet decided if I'll grow this again next year. I have limited space for veggies, and radishes are interesting but they can't compete with kale or spinach or beets. Still, these are fun...

Even if I don't grow it again, it won't be a disappointment -- as I said, I like trying new plants every year.


I actually discovered this plant from Marie Iannotti; Earlier this year I won a copy of her book "The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables" and Marie included a small packet of rat's tail radish seeds for me. It's a wonderful book -- Thanks Marie!

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danger garden  – (August 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM)  

I'd never heard of this up until a few arrived on top of a salad when dining out. I had to ask what they were and have been wanting to grow them ever since. Maybe that's the crop I'll plant when I rip out my sick tomatoes any day now...of course that means I need to track down some seeds...

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (August 9, 2012 at 12:41 PM)  

Hi Alan - Do you know ... are the flowers edible?

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (August 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM)  

Christine: my book says that all radish seed pods and flowers are edible. Rat's tail has been bred to produce larger, more tender pods than "regular" radishes though.

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