The Q&A Archives: Why Hot Radishes?

Question: We have had the same garden area for 6-7 years, and no matter what variety of radishes we plant, they always end up being very hot. Could we add something to the soil to "sweeten" our radish crop? Or are there particular varieties that are not as hot?

Answer: There are a few reasons for hot radishes, variety can certainly be a factor. Consider the varieties: 'Burpee White', 'White Icicle', and 'Crimson Giant'. All are available from Burpee at 1-800-888-1447. Other than that, here are some growing tips. The main goal is to get them to grow quickly so they will be mild, tender, and crisp. Radishes that sit in the ground and mature slowly are too strong and can be tough. For this reason, be sure they are in a spot with full sun. Soil should be sandy loam that warms quickly. Fertility is important also, phosphorous and potassium are essential to good radishes. Wood ash and bone meal will boost those nutrients, just scratch into the soil to a depth of 1-2". You will also need to fertilize with a 5-10-10 applied according to package instructions. Watering practices can also affect a radish's heat, if the ground is allowed to dry out, the radishes become hotter. Mulch if possible and keep the plants watered.

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