Early Harvests: Radishes, Arugula, and Strawberries

This past weekend, we made out first multi-item harvest of the year. Granted, we’ve been filling our salad plates with lettuces and spinach since May, and we just started chomping on strawberries here and there, but it was finally time to get out and pick some things in earnest. And those things were radishes, arugula and strawberries!

First up, the radishes:

Little red globes of joy (and pungency)!
Little red globes of joy (and pungency)!

In an earlier post, we mentioned that we’ve not grown radishes before. (Root veggies in our garden never seem to do well.) So when we were looking to do so, we opted for a variety that seemed like a good and hardy choice for first-time growers. That’s when we landed on the Saxa II from Baker Creek. They took a little longer to grow than promised on the package, but we couldn’t be happier with the results. The little bunch in the picture represents about half of the full harvest, and there are plenty more in the ground just waiting. And how do they taste? Really wonderful. They’re super crunchy with a peppery afterbite, though not with that extreme horseradish-y taste that you get from some radishes.. They are perfect in salads and we’re going to pickling some soon for some homemade sushi. (Yes, yes, it’s not the right kind of radish for that, but they’re sure to be delicious regardless.)

Speaking of salad, you know what goes great underneath the radishes? Arugula!

015arugula
We’ve got arugula coming out our ears!

We’ve grown arugula before, and it has become a perennial favorite green in our house. It has an incredible texture, a wonderful peppery flavor, and is simply perfect combined with other, less pungent greens. This year, we’ve got two varieties going. The first of the two separated out in the picture above, the smaller variety on the left is Sweet Oak Leaf from Jung’s Seeds. Left of that we have arugula from our stash of Baker Creek seeds that we purchased last year. The regular, larger arugula has the taste you’d expect — green and spicy — while the smaller Sweet Oak Leaf is like that but sweeter and a little less peppery. Both make our taste buds super happy!

And speaking of happy…and salads (again), strawberries are perfect on both counts!

A fraction of what our plant is now producing!
A fraction of what our plant is now producing!

Last year our strawberry plant (a bought plant, not from seed) did little but extend its tendrils past its single pot. It produced a few strawberries, which turned out to be small and sour. But we didn’t lose faith. And good thing we didn’t, because this year we can’t eat the strawberries fast enough! (And actually, neither can the critters — we ended up covering the bulk of the plant in netting.) Though these are not the huge California strawberries you see in the store, these are just as good, if smaller. They are sweet and tart and just all-around delicious in salads or desserts. There are just a few weeks left in the strawberry season, but we hope to get fruit out of the plant for a good part of the summer.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got a date with an arugula and radish salad with strawberries! 🙂

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