The Q&A Archives: Wormy Radishes

Question: I have a new raised garden with virgin topsoil. My radishes are about 6% wormy and quite hot. Any suggestions?

Answer: To be honest, most radishes are best grown as a cool season crop and will turn hot and bitter and become woody the longer they are in the ground and the hotter the weather. Since they mature so quickly, in 20 to 30 days, it is easy to make successive plantings through the spring and again in August and Spetember for the fall. Radishes prefer a cool, moist and loose soil which is quite rich.

If you plant summer radishes, you will need to look for heat resistant varieties and plant them fairly deep, maybe three fourths of an inch. These tend to take about ten days longer to grow to full size than the early and late crops.
Generally, if radishes are growing as well and as quickly as they should, pests will not attack them. However, it is possible you have encountered root maggots, wireworms, or borers. If this is the case, it would be best to use a three year rotation between members of the cabbage family.

To encourage healthy plants, you may wish to add plenty of organic matter to your topsoil, and also do some basic soil tests to see if there are any particular amendments you need to add. Your County Extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results. Their phone number is 736-3394.

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