first harvest of 2010

And it just turns out it came dressed in Valentine’s Day colors.

It’s kind of pitiful, though.  But we did eat these little radish thinnings, me and F. and my sis who was visiting.  The largest radish was about the size of my pinkie finger, but the tastes were full-bodied.

There were a few more that we ate before I said, “Wait, stop, let me get my camera!”  My sister and F. have a shared love of radishes, and both of them were in alt over the Daikons (ivory), which is why none of the really big ones survived until the photo shoot.

My sis was also a fan of the China Rose radishes (neon pink), saying they had a hint of sweet taste above their main spicy zing.  She declared them the most interesting, complex-flavored radishes she’d ever tasted.  F. thought they were too mild.  (Big surprise.)

When I told them that fully mature examples are supposed to be nearly baseball-sized, my sister began to earnestly root for the remainder in my patch to reach maturity.  There are probably about 18 left in the ground.  I tried to give the plants in that little row lots of extra space, as it surely takes some room to develop a root that fat.

Nobody approved of the taste of the Misato Rose radishes (green).  They had a strange, earthy taste that did not make you want to take a second bite.  We all agreed they probably haven’t had enough time to develop properly, as these were the smallest of the thinned babies.  I’d rather blame the grower (moi) than the plant — at least until facts prove otherwise.  Further taste tests are scheduled for March, or possibly April, depending on their recovery rate.

Meanwhile, after speaking to a local farmer this weekend, I learned that autumn-sown radishes often overwinter in this part of South Carolina, and if I had known, I might have had a real harvest by now.  This winter having been particularly mild, I might have even planted a second or third round in November and early December, and if thinned properly, been eating radishes for New Year’s Day.

They grow slowly in the cold, it’s true.  But they still grow.

I’m feeling a bit like that right now, as if the winter has slowed down all of my processes, including the growth of my character.  The radishes remind me that even when it doesn’t show, there is growth going on below the surface, even if it is of the slow and gentle variety.

Daphne over at Daphne’s Dandelions is hosting Harvest Monday, a blog carnival in which I hope to be able to participate more often as the season progresses.  The first harvest of 2010, such as it is, is my first opportunity. I’m excited to join in as I frankly love harvest photographs.  There is something about all of that bounty spilling out of its container, all the various colors and forms, all the textures, that just gets to me.

Even before I had a blog, I insisted on photographing nearly every harvest last summer.  (Except for those itty-bitty ones where I’d run outside for a handful of basil, or nip out to the back porch to pinch a few chives to snip over the baked potatoes, or dash outside to pluck a single, sun-warm tomato for lunch, or just stand barefoot in the garden eating a raw okra pod… mmm….)

Abbie of K-Town Homestead recently wrote that “[…] a close-up picture of a dew-kissed organic cabbage is just never going to get my blood flowing the way it does when I ogle the impeccably designed landscapes featured in Martha Stewart Living.”  (And it’s a great post.  I highly recommend Abbie’s blog in general; the writing is top-notch.)

Yet Abbie and I fall on opposite sides of the spectrum on this one.  A dew-bright cabbage will draw my attention first, even if it’s planted in a bed of beautiful flowers.  I even like pictures of onions growing — which I have been assured is a strange taste.

If you happen to feel similarly about enjoying the harvest vicariously through photographs, or if you like learning the details of how people are growing their own food, or even if you’re just a little curious, stop by Daphne’s Dandelions and check out some of the posts from food-growing bloggers around the world.

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32 Responses to “first harvest of 2010”

  1. I found your blog via Daphne’s Dandelions! Those radish thinnings sure make a beautiful photo. It’s nice to see some harvest photos especially when my garden is frozen and under snow.

    • I’m glad the harvest photos could give you a little lift, Grafix Muse. I have to get over to Daphne’s, myself, and check out all of the various links now that I have time this evening. 🙂

  2. Such pretty radishes. Every time I grow them I tend to not get around to eating them, I guess I’m not a fan. I did enjoy growing rat-tail radishes last year, even though I didn’t eat very many of the pods, the flowers were extremely attractive to beneficial insects.

    • I’m middle of the road with radishes, personally. I could eat them… or not. I’m not really fussed either way. I’ve never heard of rat-tail radishes, but I’ll be certain to follow up on your comment and get more information. Anything that brings beneficials to my garden is great in my book. 🙂

  3. Dear Meredith, I am now beginning to have a real understanding of all these different types of radish. You, your sister and F clearly had a fun time sampling all the varieties. Green radish though, to my mind, do seem a little out of character.

    I do hope by now the rain has subsided.

    • I’m glad to have helped, Edith. Green radish does seem out of character, you’re right, and perhaps that explains the unusual taste.

      The rain has stopped. But we’re forecast to have more day after tomorrow. 😦 Today I read that this area of the country had its wettest winter in decades, bringing us officially out of a major drought that had spanned several years and dried up portions of our local lake. So I suspect we are not the only ones suffering drainage issues. Thank you for your concern.

  4. Meredith, remember your post about seeing the beauty in unexpected places and ways? That applies here, I think. There is something soul satisfying about seeing a vegetable garden. And when I drive past a farm field and see acres of corn or wheat or potatoes…I get that same rush of happiness.

    I love the skinny radishes. Neat to know that you’ll now be able to enjoy them all through the year (except for maybe the Misato Rose unless maturity improves their flavor).

    • You’re right, Talon, a view of food growing does give one hearty soul-satisfaction. 🙂

      As far as enjoying them all through the year, I’d agree, except for the main portion of our growing season. Basically from May until September, it’ll be far too hot for the cool-loving radishes.

  5. “The radishes remind me that even when it doesn’t show, there is growth going on below the surface, even if it is of the slow and gentle variety.”

    🙂

  6. Lovely picture, like coloured icicles – still doens’t make me want to eat radishes though 😉

  7. To each his or her own, right, Ottawa Gardener? This is precisely why you won’t find turnips or green peppers in my garden. 🙂

  8. I don’t use radishes enough in my culinary adventures. And my husband loves them so much. I’ve never tried growing my own. Love the colours in that pic, they look delicious (even the green ones lol)

    • Kyna, they are super easy to grow. Well, the spring radishes are, anyway, for me. The spring varieties tend to be super-quick maturing. I’ve got a teeny one to try this season, called Saxa, that promises maturity in less than 20 days! How’s that for instant gratification?

  9. A pretty harvest in February, that’s dedicated gardening. I think there’s something deeply, satisfyingly, primitively human about a harvest. It connects us over tens of thousands of years, with the start of civilisation when the first farmers stood looking at their cabbages and thought, “I grew this and now I’m gonna eat it.” Martha Stewart and manicured landscapes are outgrowths from those dew kissed cabbages.

    • You are so right, Yan. It is a primal love, and we spent so much of our evolutionary history longing for sights like an overflowing harvest basket, I’m sure it resides even now in our collective psyche… helping to sell the latest gardening magazines among other effects.

  10. Meredith your excellent photo of your fabulous finger food radishes is mouth watering gorgeous! They are the perfect size for eating with dips… what fun the first harvests are! Your writing had me salivating even though I have recently eaten a large (locally grown salad of greens) I will photograph it next time! I cannot wait to have something to harvest and I will join you over at Daphnes! Carol

    • Aw, they are the perfect size for eating with dips, Carol. I’m almost ashamed to say we just ate them as was, only waiting long enough to rinse the soil off. But that gave us a very clear taste test. We’ll get out the dips for the next batch. 🙂

  11. I have never seen green or rose colored radishes – what a wealth of them you have there. And it sounds as if you all had a good time tasting them. Lovely.

  12. I’m with you. The photos of a pretty cabbage will get me every time. Radishes are wonderful too. I especially love photos of the tops of the radish root poking out above the soil. Sadly I won’t be able to harvest here until the end of April. Right now we are frozen solid and stay that way until mid March. Luckily you all give me photos during winter so I can smile.

    • Oh, I know exactly the photos you mean, Daphne. I do love those radish portraits where the shoulders are bared to the sun (but hopefully not too much sun). Our ground froze solid here for a few days in January, and the damage to some things was pretty bad. Hoping you can get your hands in some dirt as soon as possible. 🙂

  13. Oh yum, a radish fanatic, I want some!

  14. Your radishes look very yummy and delicious. Can I have some? Nothing tastes better than from your own garden and harvest. 🙂

  15. Autumn Belle, that is so true. From your own soil, from your own efforts… those vegetables and fruits taste the best of all!

  16. Radishes have definitely grown on me since I started growing them last fall. The great thing about harvesting them at this size is that they are probably very mild. I waited too long to harvest some of mine last fall and they ended up tasting very bitter. Very pretty!

    • I’ve had that happen, too, Thomas. Last year, we waited too late for a couple that turned out to taste all right — but the texture, ugh! They’d become woody and nearly impossible to chew. Maybe growing radishes is easy… but harvesting them takes subtlety and practice. 🙂

  17. I just had to pause to say that your photos are beautiful. Radishes and I have a nervous relationship – I prefer to eat the seed pods instead – but those could change my mind.

    • Thank you for the compliment, Chicken Freak. (Great handle, by the way. I understand yours is related to a love of fried chicken. My hubby says I have “chicken lust,” in that I long so much to raise some backyard chickens. Maybe one day we’ll get the opportunity.)

      I’ve never eaten a radish seed pod. I let one of mine go to flower last year out of curiosity, but I did not let it set seed. I might have to try that. 🙂

  18. This is my first visit to your blog and i found it pretty interesting. Your radishes are looking great and i agree wit Autumn Belle that nothing tastes better than your own garden harvest. Best of luck with remaining ones.

    • Hi, Muhammad. Welcome on your first visit!

      It’s true that whatever you grow yourself tastes of satisfaction, as well. 🙂 Thanks for the good luck wishes. I do hope these babies recover from their cramped conditions.

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