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Daikon Radish Improves the Winter Garden

daikon radish Japanese Minowase seed

My daikons got off to a slow start after I sowed seed early in the fall. But in the last few weeks, since the first of December, I have been pulling crisp, juicy, icy white radishes out of the ground as a snack. Just rinse and eat.

Harvesting daikons when they are about the size of a large carrot, rather than at their full 24-inch length, means each radish has a lovely, lightly tangy flavor. Not too hot, but with a refreshing warmth. Perfect cut into slices and dipped in a little salt.

Health, health, health! Daikon radishes are a staple in Asia, where they are eaten raw, pickled, or included in soups. They keep well in the ground, so there’s no need to harvest more than one or two at a time. The skin is tender and pale, with a slight green cast at the shoulder. The greens are edible, and in a pinch I have used the stalks for making soup stock, in place of celery.

Daikons are good for much more than eating. Considered “Nature’s Rototiller,” “forage radish,” or a “no till” cover crop, the large roots work over winter to break up heavy soil, enhance drainage in spring, and fix nitrogen.

I figure I will sow a second daikon crop in late winter, as soon as the current patch is harvested. Maybe there will be a spring harvest too.

Written by Sow True Seed Garden Ambassador, Nan Chase

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