Blog by the Garden Center Team
This month’s seed kit features Watermelon Radishes! To support our environment seed kits are now available digitally. Scan the QR codes on seed kits to download planting logs, delicious recipes, fun craft ideas, and coloring pages.
This variety forms large 2-4 inch roots with pale green exterior and rose-red interior, similar to its namesake, the watermelon. The flavor is sweet and peppery and tends to mellow as it matures.
Culture: Matures best in cool weather, so plant in mid-summer for a fall harvest. Prefers full sun and loose, well-drained soil. Sow seeds about ½ inch deep and about 1 inch apart in rows spaced about 6 inches apart. Thin to 3 inches apart after seedlings reach 1-2 inches in height.
Water: Keep soil moist, but not saturated, until seedlings emerge in 3-7 days. Thereafter, provide even moisture on a regular basis to prevent over-drying of soil.
Harvest: Reaches maturity in 60-65 days. Harvest when root begins to show 1-2” above the soil and interior is reddish in color (sample one plant to determine if crop is ready).
Culinary Tips: Shred for use in salads or slice thinly for crudités or to add as a colorful garnish. The young stems and leaves are also edible! Prepare as you would for collard or other greens and serve with butter or vinegar.
More About Watermelon Radish
The Watermelon Radish is an heirloom variety of daikon radish native to Northern China. The daikon radish was first introduced to China from the Mediterranean around 500 BC. The history of the Watermelon Radish is not well documented; however, it is believed that the variety was first cultivated near Beijing and may have been valued for its medicinal properties.
The Watermelon Radish is named for its distinctive appearance. Featuring a white and light green exterior and a vibrant pink or magenta interior, this radish resembles a watermelon when cut. However, the Watermelon Radish does not taste like its namesake. Instead, the Watermelon Radish has a mildly sweet, slightly peppery flavor. The Watermelon Radish has been known by many names, each highlighting its unique appearance. In Mandarin, it is xīnli měi luóbo, which roughly translates to “beautiful-at-heart radish.” When the variety was first imported to North America, it was called the “Red Meat Radish” and was later renamed the “Beauty Heart Radish” and then finally the “Watermelon Radish.”
The Watermelon Radish is a highly nutritious root vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C and it is also an excellent source for calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium!
Pickled Watermelon Radishes
Serves: 4 - 8 Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 5 mins
- 4 bunches of watermelon radishes
- 1 cup of rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 2.5 tbsp. sugar
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ½ tsp. mixed peppercorns
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- Wash radishes and slice thinly.
- Place the sliced radishes into mason jars.
- In a medium saucepan, add salt, sugar, rice wine vinegar, water, garlic, peppercorns, and mustard seeds. Over medium heat, stir to combine until sugar completely dissolves.
- Pour the brine mixture over the sliced radishes are covered and submerged. Cover the jars with lids. Move to the refrigerator for at least 3 more day before eating.
- The pickled watermelon radishes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Pickled watermelon radishes can be added to tacos, burgers, salads, or grain bowls.
Craft: Vegetable Stamps
- Vegetable ends (Bok Choy, carrot, halved onions, celery, etc.)
- Paper plate
- Paint Cardstock/paper
1. Put down newspapers to protect your workspace. Cut the base off of the vegetables, saving the useable parts for dinner! Pour a small amount of paint on your paper plate. You can also try mixing colors for different effects.
2. Dip the cut vegetable ends into your paint—don’t use too much paint or the image won’t be clear. Take the stamp and firmly press the cut end onto the paper. Lift the stamp straight up so you don’t smear the image.
3. Create leaves for your roses with a small sponge or paintbrush. Let your roses dry before hanging them up to enjoy!