Instead of edible roots, this interesting radish of prehistoric origin is grown for the abundant, slender seed pods that grow above ground on the leafy, 2'–5' plants. The botanical name translates as, "radish with a tail", and it is also called aerial radish or spicy bean. The pods are crisp and tender with a more subtle spiciness than a typical root radish. Makes an interesting addition to vegetable trays, and is delicious pickled and in curries and stir-fry dishes. Plants continue to produce even in hot weather, making them a good summer replacement for cool-weather root radishes.
• Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus var. mougri
• Days to Maturity: 40–50 days
• Family: Brassicaceae
• Native: Unknown
• Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annual
• Plant Dimensions: 2'–5' tall, 12" wide
• Variety Information: Slender, green 3"–12" pods with a mildly spicy flavor similar to root radishes. Pods will grow to 12", but best enjoyed at 3"–6". Rat's Tail radish is closely related to the common root radish, but it is an aerial radish that does not produce an edible root. Instead, it produces edible seed pods above ground. It can be grown in the spring, but also during the summer, as it withstands heat well. 'Rat's Tail' will not produce pods when temperatures fall below 45°F.
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is above 40°F, ideally 65°–85°F. Successive Sowings: Every 1 to 2 weeks until mid-summer.
• When to Start Inside: Not recommended; roots sensitive to disturbance.
• Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
• Seed Depth: ½"
• Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 6"–12"
• Row Spacing: 24"
• Thinning: When 1" tall, thin to 1 every 6"–12"
• Harvesting: Harvest pods when they are 3"–6" long. Harvest regularly to keep plants producing pods. Larger pods become hard, tough and bitter tasting so they should be picked and discarded to boost production of new pods.