Origin: South Asia
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~30
Germination tested 12/2023: 98%
Life cycle: Annual
We are extremely excited to be offering these seeds. Early in our seed-saving career we were told by Dr. William Woys Weaver that most of the podded radishes out there are not the original, which had very long purple pods. He said that he used to have it but lost it (radish seeds can be challenging to grow well in our damp Mid-Atlantic climate). So we knew when we saw these in Wild Garden Seeds' catalogue that we needed to have them in ours.
Here's what the Wild Garden catalogue says about it: "This radish from Southeast Asia is grown for its edible immature seed pods, similar in texture to pea pods, but with the full flavor of radish. The true rattail variety has slim purple siliques (the botanical term for brassica family seed pods), the earliest being over a foot long with a glossy waxed sheen. Surprising as a crudite, mysterious in stirfry (like, "What is this?"), and divine whole alongside a salad for nibbling. This comes to us from Jim Ternier and family at Prairie Garden Seeds in central Canada, and I think it's the truest to the form described in the 1885 Vilmorin Catalog ("The Vegetable Garden"). If you scan the other rattail offerings online, you'll see they look like typical radish pods, short, greenish, broad, and bumpy — nothing like a rat's tail. These may be descended from the Madras Radish, also described by Vilmorin, a fleshy version of the normal radish silique. The Ternier selection is the real thing, albeit with some variation toward the common radish pod. These cross readily with common radish, so keeping purity is a challenge. Very productive plants. Direct sow after frost, and space at least 12" apart. A bit of trellis will keep the 3' plants upright, with pods hanging straight and off the ground for easy picking."