Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Why are my Radishes rubbish?

Normally I manage to grow some pretty decent radishes, but this year all the ones I have sown have gone thin and wiry, and haven't made any useable bulbs. I don't think they have bolted. They just haven't filled out.


These 5 mediocre specimens look as if they will be the only ones I get from my latest batch, which should have yielded perhaps fifty:

Radish "French Breakfast III"


Can I attribute my lack of success this year to the strange weather conditions? I'm not sure. There is one other factor that may be to blame. I have grown my Radishes in containers, using commercial compost, whereas in the past I have usually had them in the soil of my raised beds. Next year I will revert to my normal method I think.

Fortunately, other crops have done well, otherwise my confidence might have taken a bit of knock. The extra moisture this year has really suited the beans. For me, French Beans are always the Number 2 bean, second always to Runner Beans, but there is no denying that they have done well:


French Beans do have one advantage over Runners - the dwarf types can be grown in a much smaller space, and they don't need the strong support systems that Runners demand. Mine are always grown in large pots and containers, in which they are happy enough as long as they are frequently watered.

I pick a handful of each of my three types of French Bean every couple of days. The green ones are "Speedy" (with a few of the bigger "Cobra" ones); the purple ones are "Amethyst" and the yellow ones are "Polka".  I think the green ones tend to be the most prolific, but that may just be a perception; I haven't actually measured the yields.


Here in the UK people tend to eat French Beans mainly as a hot vegetable, but Jane and I also like them cooked and cooled, as a salad ingredient. True French people often eat them as a salad in their own right, served with a red wine vinaigrette into which a shallot has been finely chopped.

Talking of salads, I still have lots of tomatoes and cucumbers coming on. I have taken to picking the tomatoes while they are still very under-ripe, in order to minimise the risk of blight damage, so most of my recent photos show green fruits only:

"Roma"

"Orkado"

The "Iznik" cucumbers have really got into their stride now, with masses of fruits maturing. They develop very rapidly, and the time from flower to ripe fruit seems to be only about a fortnight:








So very few Radishes, but lots of other nice things to compensate.

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P.S. I'm working in London for a few days, which means early departures and late returns home, so I won't be able to spend much time blogging, and you won't see many comments from me for a while...

16 comments:

  1. The first time I grew radish, they were in a tub & they looked similar to your picture. However my spring onions have been dire this year.

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  2. So what happened to the tropical southern red tomatoes?

    I don't think radishes like being grown in compost. We've tried growing radishes in large pots of compost in the past and not had any success either. Just as your experience the roots haven't formed which is the whole point of growing radishes.

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    1. So are we saying be cruel to your radishes ;-) Think so, and makes perfect sense now that you post this Sue. No rich compost..will try that, as I get so many that look like Mark's.

      Great beans Mark..truly beautiful.

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  3. I think it is definitely the soil that causes the problem with radishes. I am hoping next year that I will get more once I can add some pig manure to my compost.

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  4. A friend of mine had the same thing happen to her last year - she grew radishes in a plastic bag filled with B&Q commercial compost.

    Very nice beans and cucumbers!

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  5. I always had the same trouble with radishes at my old house. Until I figured out that they would grow well under a row cover. Because of that I always figured it was an insect that I couldn't see. Here I can grow them outside of a row cover, but something likes to munch on the roots (root maggots?), so I like to keep them covered anyway.

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  6. My radishes are rubbish too!!! Beans are doing well. The radishes are still roots without bulk. Maybe next year.

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  7. I didn't have any luck with radishes this year either. I tried sowing a few times but they didn't develop properly. I've managed to get beans however the most successful has been dwarf purple queen. I've a lot to learn about growing beans as my cobra and scarlett emperor weren't very successful.

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  8. I always grow my radishes in compost in containers and they always usually do well, but not this year. I'm putting it down to the weather, along with everything else this year.

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    1. Our radishes grown outside in the ground have been really good so I'll be surprised if it was the weather whereas every time I have tried to grow in pots of compost (no this year but other years) I have had problem. Pop some in the ground and in pots now, Mark just to see what happens - we are sowing more seed today so it isn't too late. There are lots of different composts so maybe the 'ingredients' of certain composts aren't radish friendly!

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  9. Over here in Australia my radishes were rubbish too, in just the same way. It was my first time growing them and I thought they would be super easy. I did grow them in rich home-made compost, and I see from the other comments that perhaps that was the problem. On the other hand, when I looked in my gardening books to see why I hadn't succeeded with such a simple, child-friendly plant, I read that radishes in fact often fail to make proper bulbs. I'll try them next autumn in poorer soil.
    (It's great reading your blog, because I have six months to think about what I've read, lol.)

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  10. The good news is the greens are usable!

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  11. Count me in on having a sad-looking radish patch. Mine look just like yours at the moment (and the exact same french breakfast type too).

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  12. Loving the beans. I have had radish like this is the past. Haven't grown anything this year but we're prepping for next year. A bird space, some new lawn with wild flowers in and a very small area for veg as the dog just ruined everything last year, so I hope they will be old enough not to be too curious and leave out food well alone. :0) nice to find your blog xx

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  13. My very first lot of radishes this year were good. They're grown in compost in a raised bed. Since then, I think it's been too hot for them. I've sown 3 lots that failed.

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  14. I'm slowly working through old posts of my fave blogs that I've missed over the summer and I notice that you often write about your failures. Makes me feel much better! :) Radishes were a big disappointment here this year too...

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