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Apr 19, 2011 11:35 AM

Rooting radishes?

I live near Boston and have the blackest of thumbs, but a friend plants vegetables every spring. Last week I bought a huge purple radish, weighing over a pound, at H-Mart, a Korean supermarket.
It is shaped like a fat sausage and though the top had been cut off, new green was sprouting. I sliced the top off about a half inch from the green end and have stuck toothpicks in it to position it so the cut end is immersed in a container of water, a la the potato experiment every school kid tries. I also put one of my multivitamins into the water. The greens have tripled in size in the 4 days since, but no root formation has occurred. Will it? I was hoping my friend could plant it and grow his own purple monster.

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  1. Unfortunately, no. No new root will form - only greens. While I don't know exactly what variety of radish you have, you most likely can snip the greens into salads or use them in stirfries. Taste first, as some are much more pungent than others.

    1. Hmmmm was it a Bordeaux radish? I've never seen one but just came across this blog post from another CHound:

      2 Replies
      1. re: gimlis1mum

        Seems to be the same thing, but no "Bordeaux" on the sign in the produce section. I have been julienning it. The flavor is very mild, more like an English cucumber than a typical supermarket radish.

        1. re: greygarious

          Sounds yummy! I'll have to look for it next time.

          I wish I could fine seeds for the plain 'ol Korean radish to grow in my garden. The ones at HMart and even Reliable Market in Somerville sometimes seem to be a bit long in the tooth.

      2. Curious about the multivitamin addition. Surprised it did not kill the sprout. Mammals and radishes usually eat different things.

        I live not too far from a H-Mart, love them! They have amazing produce, grains, spices ect.

        1. Your description sounds something like the daikon radish: Violet de Gourney, although I've never seen one as big as one pound. My favorite purple radish is Plum Purple, but it is much smaller. Why not try to raise radishes from seed? The seeds are very inexpensive and growing them is so easy they are recommended for children's gardens.

          3 Replies
          1. re: DonShirer

            I looked at my receipt - the purple radish was actually over 2 pounds, and it was far from being the largest one in the bin. I'd say it would be interchangeable with daikon but I'll bet the color bleeds. I make the carrot/daikon slaw seen on banh mi sandwiches, but orange and purple would probably wind up an unappealing brown. I have mobility issues, a lot with virtually no direct sunlight, and as mentioned, NO knack for plants. I can't tell you the money I've wasted over the years before accepting my failures. I handed over the radish top to my friend the other day. As soon as I put the vitamin in the water, it started growing like mad. There was about an inch of green sprouting from the top when I bought the monster, a week later there was 4" of greens. No roots....sigh. My friend will put it into a pot and see what happens, maybe plant it in the ground if spring ever comes.

            1. re: greygarious

              Was at HMart today and picked one up. Today there was a sign idenitfying them as Bordeaux radishes, grown on Jeju Island. I cut some into chunks and added it to tonight's chicken soup. It did give the broth a very very slight pinkish color which would probably have been more pronounced if i'd used more radish. The flavor was indeed mild, as you said, even more so than a regular Korean radish.

              To keep this gardening-related, i noticed that there were a number of seedlings for sale at HMart too. Lettuce, eggplants, something labeled Korean cucumber and a few other leafy things - but, sadly, no radishes.

              1. re: gimlis1mum

                Vegetables with tap roots such as radishes really need direct seeding. Their roots go deep very quickly and would be stifled if planted in any pot of anything approaching normal depth.