Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Seed to Table in Seven Weeks

My blog is not dead, I swear. Honestly the last few weeks have been all about the garden for me. It's all consuming. No sewing or crocheting for me. Spring has swept me away. I spend my evenings after work watering, transplanting, and sometimes, just staring at my plants. Did I really just write that? I don't talk to them or anything. Okay maybe once or twice. There's so much I want to share (and too many photos), so lets just look at one veggie for today.

Radishes. Crisp and peppery, and maybe a little misunderstood. They are supposed to be good for beginning gardeners, so I gave it a go. Mid March I planted the seeds in a large pot outside, and covered it with saran wrap to keep the soil moist and warm (when you put your finger under the plastic it's like a little sauna in there). About two weeks later they sprouted:

Cute, right? They look like little clam shells or some such thing. And the little red bit at the top of the root will be the radish right? Let's hope so.

Growing fast, at two days later. Promising, but tasty salad fixings seem a long way off.

Later, going strong. Note the two distinct leaf types. Little gardening lesson: The first leaves of a seedling are called cotyledon leaves, or "nurse" leaves. They look nothing like the leaves that will come later, which are the "true" leaves.

Chock full. They look crowded to me, but I planted the seeds at the final spacing recommended, of just an inch, so I didn't have to have to thin seedlings.

Get ready. Here we go:

That happened. One day I looked and, oh! They're radishes! They're really radishes! I mean, I know that's what the seed packet said. And I generally provided the essentials: soil, water, sun. Seeds = plants. But, omg. They're really radishes.

I still can't quite believe it.

The variety is called Cherry Belle, and you harvest them at about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. I mostly put them into salads (or just straight in my mouth), but I came across an article that claimed that the classic (and French, lah di dah) way to eat them is with a thin piece of cold butter between slices of radish, and dipped in salt. I wasn't sure. I don't even really like unmelted butter (like, when it comes with the bread at a restaurant, and it won't spread evenly, and the bread tears, gah -  it just doesn't quite do it for me). I did try it, and it was tasty, but I didn't fall over and die from bliss or anything. To each his own. Upon further food blog research, I pan fried the last few, with thyme, (melted) butter, and salt and pepper. Which, let me just say, wow. How have I never had cooked radishes before? Clearly my life was dismally empty until that fateful, glorious meal.

I grew my own food! In a pot on my deck! It tasted good. Worth.the.effort.