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Milkwood Blog

A radish can make you smile

November 5, 2012 | Gardening, Vegetable Gardening | 10 comments | Author:

See? New season radishes have got to be one of the cutest things in the garden cabinet. Especially when they’re organically grown, multicolored, freshly washed and about to become lunch…

Radish tops are also great in salads, especially when the crop is young like these. Radishes are also very easy to grow and can be used for under-cropping and inter-cropping with other plants – coming up quick and shading the ground while slower crops establish. By the time the bed starts getting crowded, you’re harvesting the radishes, simultaneously making room for the inter-cropped plants. Permaculture stacking of time and space, in miniature…

The radishes we’re planting this season are mostly The Italian Gardener’s ‘le bizzare’ radish mix. This is a great seed company that we found through Mike and Joyce at Allsun Farm, and their seeds are really good quality.

Eden Seeds also does a great variety of radishes if you’re in Australia and after particular colors. And our local seed merchants, Royston Petrie, are about to start supplying organic tomato and onion seeds, grown in Mudgee. Looking forward to them!

At first I was concerned about preferencing a non-GMO seed supplier who imports the majority of their seeds from overseas (ie Italy, in this case), but as we’ve learned more about the seed trade (especially once you go above domestic seed requirements), we’ve found that this is the case with nearly all Australian seed companies, organic or no.

And the Italian master seedmen know their seedcraft. Bigtime. So we figured it’s better to get great seedstock with high germination rates firstly, and then move towards locally adapted varieties of these strong genetics as a base.

What is most important to us at this point is figuring out what varieties will grow best in our area. Once that is established, we can put more effort into selecting for adaption, within those varieties. At this point however we just want to figure out what will grow best and be resilient within our particular soils, rainfall and climate, and give a good yield to feed us and our community. First things first.

Rose with this Spring’s inaugural radish. Many to follow.

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  • terrapermaculture November 5, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply

    and mature radish tops make soups to die for!

  • latebloomershow November 5, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply

    This photo makes me smile! Thanks! – Kaye

  • dixiebelle November 5, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply

    I recently discovered a local seedlings seller here in Canberra (who interned at Allsun, and also, I just realised probably reads your blog and these comments!) who uses Italian Gardener (and therefore some Franchi) seeds. I was a bit taken aback that someone who states to use ‘sustainable practices’ in her business was using seed imported from Italy. Personally, I have been using several of the ‘organic/ heirloom’ Aussie seed sellers for over 3 years and have had very few issues, and only a couple of packets of seeds needing to be replaced. However, her explanations, and yours, make sense… for someone who is running a business, the seeds need to germinate well, they need to grow true and they need to be good quality genetics. I get it. And when it comes down to it, I support other businesses and do things myself that certainly don’t fit within the ‘buy only local, buy only sustainable’ motto anyway. It’s a tricky thing to balance, and what I am doing/ growing, certainly doesn’t have to support a business or feed my family.

    I have been eating our radishes straight out of the garden. I also use the radish greens to make ‘greens’, or the chooks happily gobble them up!

    1. milkwoodkirsten November 5, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply

      Absolutely, i know what you mean! What I’ve found however is that many Australian organic/heirloom seed suppliers are actually buying some (or even the majority) of their seeds from overseas anyway, so… yeah. Hmm!

  • narf77 November 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply

    I am after some black radish seed. They look particularly hardy and would do well here in Northern Tasmania…best keep hunting! Cheers for the lovely gratuitous radish shots :)

    1. milkwoodkirsten November 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply

      get a packet of these seeds and then select out the black ones (ie once they’ve grown)?

      1. narf77 November 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply

        Good idea! To the online catalogue batman! :)

  • Jim November 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    This is interesting because last Saturday morning our local ABC radio gardening program discussed the source of seeds sold by the big major seed companies. Many are packaged in England but apparently use seed sourced from many overseas countries then resold back into their countries after the seed has travelled the world. What a waste of fuel and cost in kilometre/freight dollars.
    What I try to do is keep my own seed after the first season of using a new purchased type of seed. This starts the process of local seed provenace and over a couple of generations or so I notice a marked difference with the “new seeds” I have in their germination, growth and production when compared to the purchased seeds.
    If we have to purchase seeds it is good to to be able to support local nonGMO or hybrid seed producers because I am sure most of them are more interested in helping the home gardener or small producer rather than big business.

  • Melissa Abrahams November 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply

    Hi Kirsten. Loving your posts and loving sharing your adventure vicariously at Milkwood Farm!

    My family and I lived in London for some time and received our organic food box from an organization called Riverford.

    It’s an amazing place doing incredible work. I thought you might like to check them out, as your posts remind me of them.

    I look forward to your further missives.

    Warm regards, Melissa.

    Melissa Abrahams Registered Acupuncturist

    1. milkwoodkirsten November 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply

      Thanks Melissa, will do!


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