By Dawn Bazely

In 2015, I was astonished to learn about an Advent season celebration in Mexico involving carved radishes (Raphanus sativus), in Emma Cooper’s post, La Noche de las Rábanos.

a decorative display of carved radishes where the red skin contrasts with the white interior
La Noche de los Rábanos (Alejandro Linares Garcia, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Growing up in England, radishes were one of the first edible plants that I grew in my parents’ London garden. I learned more about them from Emma’s in-depth post about the Night of the Radishes at her Unconventional Gardener blog. Radishes are originally native to China, and Emma explained, that by the 16th century, they had spread far and wide, including to Mexico.

a 4 x 5 grid of images of radish varieties
Radish varieties at West Coast Seeds

There are many radish varieties, with names like “Half long black Spanish” and “Long White Vienna”. Apart from the spring and summer salad radishes of my childhood, winter radishes, which include daikon, an ingredient in the popular, Vietnamese Bánh-Mì sandwiches beloved by Torontonians (see Tanya Mok’s BlogTO article), have recently been promoted by David Cohlmeyer in Edible Toronto Magazine, as a great winter crop for local gardens.

Inspired by Emma and David, I recently persuaded my husband to order seeds of several heirloom varieties of winter radish, including Black Spanish Round, of which there are a plethora, at Vancouver’s West Coast Seeds (see photos of their website). Clearly, I have only begun to scrape, or should I say, carve, into the surface of radishes!

image f radish and seed catalogue entry
Black Spanish round radishes from West Coast Seeds

Read more about this in Emma Cooper’s post, La Noche de las Rábanos.

Additional sources:

All About Winter Radishes by David Cohlmeyer in The Artisanal Garden section, Edible Toronto Magazine. January 01, 2015.

West Coast Seeds, Vancouver, BC.

The Best Banh Mi in Toronto by Tanya Mok in The Best of Toronto Section, blogTO. September 24, 2018.

Night of the Radishes by Emma Cooper AdventBotany 2014 Day 23


For more #AdventBotany see our 2020 index page.

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