The time for delicious, crisp, spicy radishes passed quickly this season due to some unseasonably warm weather in May. My very first harvest of these crunchy wonders is shown in the header photo for my blog, and the pride I felt is clearly apparent. So, when it became obvious that the plants that hadn't started to swell below the surface were going to miss their biological deadline, I decided to leave them in place so that they could flower and go to seed. Above is 'Cherry Belle' and below is 'Purple Plum', which surprised me with it's ornamental qualities!
The ability to save seeds from your plants is one of the most wonderful reasons to grow heirloom varieties! Hybrid vegetables have their place, and I'm sure I'll eventually grow some, but because they're created by cross-pollination and selective breeding, their seeds never produce a duplicate of the parent plants, usually resulting in less-than-spectacular flavour. Heirlooms, on the other hand, are plants that are 'open-pollinated' and have been passed for generations through families and friends across time and distance. Many of them have amazing stories of their origins, while others are ancient and shrouded in mystery.
I chose to grow heirloom varieties exclusively this season, and I sourced my seed from some very cool companies that are run by some very cool people! You can check them out to learn more about heirlooms here:
The Cottage Gardener
Baker Creek Heirlooms
I'll be saving seeds from my radishes, arugula, and likely the peas and beans this season - which means more to share next spring, and naturally, more room in my seed budget for NEW varieties in 2011!