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Radish Growing Problems

Four Common Problems Growing Radishes and What to Do About Them.

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Radishes can be one of the easiest vegetables to grow and they certainly are one of the fastest, but there are a handful of problems that can plague home gardeners when trying to grow radishes. Luckily, all of these problems are avoidable if you grow your radishes in good conditions.

1. How Do I Keep My Radishes from Getting Too Hot to Eat?

Growing French Breakfast Radishes
Photo: © Marie Iannotti

The "hotness" of radishes results from the length of time they have grown rather than from their size. The radishes either grew too slowly or are too old. Radishes like cool weather, but it needs to be warm and wet enough for them to fill out before the weather heats up.

2. Why Do My Radishes Crack Open?

Chinese Red Meat Winter Radish
Photo: © Marie Iannotti
Sometimes radishes simply split open as they mature and get older. However very often cracking is the result of uneven watering. Trying to make up for a period of drought with a lot of water all at once will cause the radish to grow too rapidly and split open.

3. Why Do My Radishes Get Tough and Woody?

Round Black Spanish Radish
Photo: © Marie Iannotti
Radishes need to grow quickly, to ensure they are tender and plump when harvested. If radishes don’t get the cool temperatures they need and lots of regular water, they will start to get hard and dry.

4. All I Have are Green Tops. Why Aren’t the Radish Bulbs Forming?

White Icicle radishes are a long, crunchy icy white radish.
Photo: © Marie Iannotti
The most frequent cause of radishes growing only greens is hot weather. Once the weather warms up, the radish plant bolts and tries to set seed.

Planting too thickly and not thinning to about 1-2" between plants will also cause radishes not to develop. They are too crowded and don’t feel they have room to plump up, so again, they will go to seed.

Another cause of under development in radishes is not enough sunlight. Radishes can handle a little shade, especially if the temperatures are creeping up, but they need several hours of direct sun to fully develop.

Of course, if you want to avoid this problem all together, you can simply grow edible podded radishes - radishes grown for their crunchy, tangy seed pods, like Rat Tail. They love hot weather, have few pest problems and never form bulbs.

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