This year, I decided to try growing radishes. Why, you ask? Because, as a computer programmer, I like things to happen instantly. Unfortunately, gardens don't grow instantly. However, radishes grow in 30 days, which, in gardening terms, is a blink of an eye.
So I decided to grow a garden bed of radishes. Therefore, I decided to do some radish research, and found out several amazing things about radishes. The first thing I learned was that you can eat every part of every radish in every stage of life! You can eat the root, you can eat the seedlings, you can eat the leaves, you can eat the flowers, and you can eat the seed pods. Not only that, you can use the remains of the plant as food for other plants.
So, here's what I did, and so far it's worked out really well:
(Radish Seed Pods)
I think next year what I will do is, rather that just keeping the back row to go to seed, I'll just thin the radishes at the root stage from being a few inches apart to being a few feet apart.
But, that's not all. It turns out that radishes have one more trick up their sleeves. Because they have such a long root, they can actually pull nutrients from way down underground to the surface. So, you can use radishes as a "green manure". Plant them about 2-3 weeks before the first frost, and let the winter freeze kill them. They will bring nutrition from the sun and from below the soil to the top of the soil, then the winter freeze will kill them off, and they will nourish your soil over winter.
They actually have specialized radishes for this (fodder radishes), but really, for the small home gardener, any kind can be used. I imagine that the deep radish root will also be useful in breaking up clay soils.