Early Arrival: The Radish

Published Spring, 2009
Edible Portland

Until a few years ago, I hadn't given radishes much serious thought. My inner epicure scoffed when a radish rose garnish crossed my path and I dutifully ate the ones that came with my plate of tacos. I always enjoyed the interplay of the crisp texture and peppery flavor, as well as how the unexpected hot finish of a fresh radish works with a squeeze of lime to cut through the richness of the meat. But more often than not, their presence on a dish felt arbitrary, a surprise that failed to delight beyond a bit of color and crunch.

Then I became a gardener and caught on to the fact that radishes are an impatient grower's secret weapon for jump-starting the season. Radish seeds can be planted earlier than any others, providing the only scraps of color poking out of the dark, fertile earth of early srping in as few as three weeks. They're easy to grow, have a short season (you can move on to other crops in June, or sow a crop of later-maturing radish seeds) and don't take up much space. Whether you're gardening in a small city lot or a windown box, your radish crop can number in the dozens.

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