Monthly Archives: October 2009

Watermelon Radishes

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be writing this blog post. No, it’s not that I’m that excited about Columbus Day. I’m excited because I’ve been waiting for 2 MONTHS to write a post about Watermelon Radishes.

Watermelon RadishesAren’t they beautiful? They are perfect specimens! (Well, they’re a little bit small, but I pulled them to use for samples in a class I was teaching last Friday.) It is rather difficult to tell the size of these radishes without something to compare to, but the larger one is about the same size as a tennis ball. They will normally get to baseball to softball size.

Why are they called Watermelon Radishes you might ask? Good question.

Watermelon Radish 2There. Does that answer your question? Good. I thought it might. The pink interior is sweet and crunchy, while the peel has a strong spicy flavor to it like you may normally associate with radishes.

Watermelon radishes are Fall Radishes, not the commonly grown spring radishes. They are called Fall Radishes because they grow best in the fall when the days are getting shorter and cooler. Here in Kansas, plant them in early to mid-August.

Watermelon radishes are a type of Daikon radish, and other daikons are also best planted in the fall here.Ā  If you want to try watermelon radishes, you’ll have to find seed from a catalog/online catalog. They are called watermelon radishes, red meat radishes, and rarely Matangahong radishes. (The last is, I think, technically a different radish, but they are pretty similar at any rate!)

Like other daikon radishes, these can be eaten both cooked and raw. I’ll probably have another post about that in a few weeks.

Friday PhotoEssay

Friday has come around again! Time flies when you’re having fun in the garden!

Purple ChoyWe harvested some of the purple choy this week. The choy is about “baby” size, so nice and tender and tasty! This will give the remaining choy plants space to grow bigger.

Baby ChoyI don’t know what it is about the shape of bok choy that draws me in, but something about the gentle curve of the bok choy stems makes me rush to find a new recipe to try!

Speaking of bok choy, here is my favorite bok choy recipe: Ginger Sesame Chicken with Bok Choy and Mushrooms. This recipe really deserves its own post. Next time I make it I’ll share! (The photos, that is…not the eats!)

Last peppersThe last hurrah of the Family of 4 Garden peppers. They were tasty while they lasted. The two jalapeno plants and the 4 banana pepper plants outdid themselves this year.

More ChardClearly this is the reason to plant Swiss Chard – for picture taking purposes. It just looks so gorgeous!

White CaterpillarThis white fuzzy caterpillar is living on the bok choy. It’s probably a tiger moth caterpillar. It doesn’t seem to be doing major damage, so I guess I’ll leave him be.

Crazy GrasshopperI saw this grasshopper on a Brussel Sprout leaf this morning. Can you see the long antennae? The red eyes are pretty spectacular too.

Have a great weekend! Don’t get too cold!

To Cover or Not to Cover

Fall Fo4 GardenOne of our local TV stations is predicting our first frost of the fall this weekend. (Low of 31 for Sunday night.) The other stations are predicting 34 degrees and 36 degrees as lows for the weekend. Accuweather.com is predicting 38 degrees for the weekend low. Trying to figure out how cold it is actually going to get is more problematic than deciding what to do!

We have been getting a few calls on covering plants, and my opinion is this:

If you have some summer vegetables (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, etc.) that you are just desperate to save, go ahead and cover them. They aren’t really going to produce much when the overall temperatures are chilly, but save them if you must. Otherwise, let nature take its course and put the plants in the compost pile after they have been killed by the frost!

If you have some cool season vegetables planted (lettuces, spinach, radishes, beets, carrots, broccoli), you can cover them, but it is totally unnecessary! They will keep right on growing after the temperatures are back above freezing. If there is anything in the garden that I really want to cover and keep going, I’ll probably do it when the first low of 28 degrees or colder is predicted.

Fall Flowers

We may be pulling things out slowly and putting the garden to bed for the winter, but there are still lots of beautiful flowers to be had. Bob’s office is full of buckets of flowers we cut on Tuesday. They will be used for a Master Gardener class on Friday.

Cannas and ZinniasThe cannas are definitely bright and cheery!

SageThe Mexican Bush Sage (purple flowers) also lights up the room. Yet another reason why you should plant some flowering sages/salvias for fall color.

Nearing the End…

We are definitely nearing the end of the busy gardening season. This week in the garden, the zinnias and the roma tomatoes have come to an end. The zinnias have been looking pretty pitiful ever since the powdery mildew showed up a few weeks ago. The roma tomatoes could have lasted another week, but the temperatures are so cool that they would not have ripened.

Tomatoes coming outWe picked off any tomatoes showing a hint of color, as well as the green tomatoes that were of mature size. The plants went to the compost bin and the cages went into storage. We could leave the straw to decompose into the soil, but we prefer to put it in the compost bins instead.

Emptier GardenThe garden looks just a little sad when I walk out the door now… šŸ˜¦

Pre-CompostWe should have some beautiful compost come spring!