Saving Seeds from Radishes

Radishes, bolted to seed.  About 4 feet tall.

Did you know that radishes will grow over 4 feet tall?

I planted a pot of radish seeds in the greenhouse this December. The seeds took a month or perhaps even 6 weeks to germinate in the cold temperatures. While they were growing, I was actually able to eat 4 or 5 small ones, pulled out in the name of “thinning” before the majority of the plants started to grow seed stalks. I guess the winter weather was a bit too much stress for them.

Instead of just throwing them out, I decided to let the radishes go to seed…as an experiment.

The seed stalks kept growing and growing and growing. After growing about 4 feet tall, the stalk in the center of each radish opened up a flower very similar to what a bolted broccoli looks like. Some of my radishes grew white flowers and some grew pink flowers, although all the seeds came from the same packet. Some are still flowering now, almost 6 months after putting the seeds in the ground.

Radish flower

Now that most of the flowers have died back, seed pods are beginning to grow. They look like tiny green beans at the moment. I’ll update this post when they have grown up and dried so I can harvest the seed.

Radish flower


Here is an update to my previous post about saving radish seeds.

Dried radish seed pods

Dried radish seed pods

I let the radish growth die naturally and dry outside to a nice tan color.  I picked off the stems with the seed pods and had what you see above.

Green pod has turned light brown

Green pod has turned light brown

Just like a pea or a bean, each dry pod contains a few radish seeds.  Let’s open one up, shall we?

Hooray, seeds!

Hooray, seeds!

I expect the nice round ones are probably more viable than the flat wrinkled ones, since the ones I originally planted were all nice and round.

The verdict is that, yes, I can save radish seeds.  And until I absolutely need to, I won’t.  It’s a lot of extra work to get these seeds from a plant that would otherwise be picked in 25 or 30 days.  I’ll consider it knowledge tucked away for a rainy day.

30 responses to this post.

  1. 4 feet?? That’s taller than my two small children… Hmmmm…. Maybe I ought to plant and just let them grow to see. 🙂

  2. Posted by sarabclever on May 7, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Apparently you can eat the seed pods–Barbara Damrosch had something on this recently in her column!

  3. Yes, I had read that too! That would be quite a delicacy. Almost impossible to find in the store. Now I want to try them.

    • Posted by Brian on June 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Have you ever try eating the leaves

      • When radish plants are very small they taste like little radishes. But before the root grows larger the plant’s leaves grow bristly hairs on them that makes them a lot less tasty.

      • Posted by Daniel on September 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        Yes, they taste similar to the radish itself. They’re best eaten fresh off the plant, though. Even after a couple of days, they become more bitter. They’re good added to a salad, but even fresh picked, they have a bit of a bitter edge to them, so I wouldn’t make the entire salad with them.

  4. Posted by John on November 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve left some radish plants growing in my garden because I was too late picking them for eating. They do indeed grow very very tall. I’m planning on collecting the seeds to use for planting some time.

    Have you been successful in growing new plants from the seeds you collected?

  5. Posted by raymond GreeN on April 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I’m close to harvesting some white beauty radish seeds, the flowers for mine were purple(they looked nice) but now have fallen and I can see pods forming. Just have to watch out for the pesky birds.

  6. Posted by Richard on July 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Yup, I have some too. I came here wondering if I could pick the seeds now but it seems that I’ll have to wait until they get brown. A few of my plants grew radishes and they were tasty.

  7. Posted by Leilani on July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Interesting! I had no idea what a radish seed looked like. I definitely plan on including radishes in my garden next year.

  8. Posted by c ya on July 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    of the leaf and pods im not a big fan, but i let almost half my radish patch seed out each year and eat crisp spicy sprouts all winter, along with the sunflower, gai lan and even fennel as a sprout, all easy, low/nothin fert. seeds keep all winter, spout easy, great flavours, highly nutritious, just gotta remember to reserve a few for next planting:)
    nice lil blog dude

  9. Posted by Agi's Farmhouse Kitchen on August 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    The radish plant when it goes to seed is really quite beautiful, almost hate to pull it out!

  10. Posted by Nancy on October 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    The green seed pods are excellent. They taste like….. radishes! And you get a lot of them on each plant. Our radishes just didn’t grow well as actual radishes, so we just let them flower and harvested the pods for salads. They are really crisp and yummy. I just harvested today the ones I let dry and am going to sprout them to eat.

    • Posted by Kim Cay on June 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      do you have to wait for the pods to turn brown or can you take the seeds out of the pods as see as you see them?

      • Yes, let the pods turn brown and dry before you break out the seeds.

      • Posted by Kim Cay on June 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

        My question is do I have to wait for the pod to turn brown before I pull then from the ground to harvest seeds or can I pull them from the ground while green and put them in a dry spot to harvest seeds for next year.

        • I haven’t tried picking the pods while they are still green, but my instinct tells me that you would get less viability in the seeds the earlier you pick them. I don’t know exactly when in the process they become living seeds that will sprout, but it seems to be that letting them dry while still attached to the roots is the best choice.

  11. Posted by Hilarie Dunlap on July 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    How do you keep the seeds from when you take them from pods until time to plant next time?

  12. Posted by JK on July 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I have grown different types of radishes during the hot season with success. Bu
    rpee salad variety seems to do well but start to get hot,

  13. Reblogged this on Uma Horta…..

  14. Posted by Bruce J on May 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    This year I am hoping to raise radish to seed. Why? Because they make the best damned kitchen window sprout for winter salads.
    Like most people, I really cannot eat as many radish as my garden can produce. In fact, for several years I have only used radish as row markers (one seed every 6 to 8 inches) and those markers provide more than enough root radish for salads.
    But a couple of winters sprouting radish with mung bean has given me the courage to devote one and a half metres of bed to radish for sprout seed.

  15. Posted by chris on June 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Watermelon Radish is the best! They look like little watermelons; white on the outside and red on the inside. We canned ’em in jars with a special brine. People think they’re candy. Defenetly a conversation starter. …will try to get some to seed for acclamation reasons(Alaska)

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