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Where are the seeds?
Radishes are often eaten well before their seeds ever start to develop, so you will have to hold back on picking a few to be able to gather seeds from them. That is because you will need the radish to “bolt” or flower on the top to get the seeds to start to form. Radish seeds are held within pods that you will see after the flowers develop and are pollenated. These will look similar to pea pods and can be eaten if you choose, they go very well pickled, charred, or in stir fry as they are a popular ingredient in Asian dishes.
Radishes tend to bolt with the hot weather, so often this will happen by mid-summer or even early summer depending on how hot things get. Once the pods form they will usually turn brown soon afterwards making them hard to miss.
How to harvest:
You will be able to harvest your radish seeds when the pods are all brown and when you give them a shake you can hear them rattle. It will be best to pick them before they split open otherwise the seeds will scatter and be lost. Some methods you can use for collecting the seeds are:
Paper Bag Method:
Once the pods are browning, you can pull the entire plant up and upend it in a brown bag. Hang the bag with the plant seed dangling down into it and allow the seeds to mature naturally. Once they are completely mature, the pods pop open and the seeds drop into the bag. You can also allow seed pods to mature in a cool, dry area and then winnow or sift them to separate the seeds from the chaff
Direct Harvest Method:
When your pods are brown make sure you have your container (paper bag, bowl, old Tupperware, small bucket, ect) placed under the pod you are harvesting from and gently squeeze the pod brake it open, then shake the seed into the bowl. If you are in a rush or don’t want to be stuck standing the whole time, simply collect the whole pods and brake them open later.
Once you have the seeds you will need to remove the chaff from the seeds, which is the other debris that can still be with the seeds. Once cleaned the seeds will need to be completely dried so that they do not mold, air dry them on a flat surface for about a week.
Store your Seeds:
Now that you have your seeds all clean and dried, it is time to store them for next season and a few after that as well. When kept in a cool, dark, and dry location, radish seeds can last 5-6 years. You can use seed packets, glass jars, or even plastic bags to store them in. Make sure to label the seeds for both verity and date harvested and rotate your seeds each year to make sure they don’t sit for to long.
Keep in mind that if you are collecting radish seeds from hybrid varieties, the chances of obtaining exact replicas of the parent plant in the successive planting season is nil as radishes cross pollinate readily. Regardless, the resulting radish will still be a radish. If you want to be a purest, select only those seeds from dedicated heirloom plantings.