PerennialKApril 23, 2014

My kids started gardening and they planted some lettuce and radishes. The lettuce turned out really well but the radishes... way too spicy/bitter. I had the same problem last season but I thought at the time maybe I just have not watered them enough. This season though, the kids' radishes had plenty of water and well drained soil. What else can we do? I there a secret trick to growing sweet radishes?

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

When did y'all plant them? If the weather gets too warm, the radishes develop a really pungent flavor. So, my best guess is either you planted them a little late or you planted them on time but then had unseasonably warm weather when the radishes were developing.

There's really no trick or secret to growing radishes other than growing them in cool/cold temperatures. You can try them again when the weather has cooled off significantly in the fall.

The erratic nature of our late winter and spring weather with all its wild temperature swings can make it hard to grow cool-season crops some years. I don't know how warm it has been at your location. But at our house we have been in the 80s a lot and have hit 89 degrees at least twice. That kind of heat isn't good for cool-season veggies like radishes.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:46PM
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You might want to try milder varieties which could offset the stronger flavor warm weather brings. Burpee crimson giant and german giant are much milder than the typical cherry belle.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:49AM
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Thank you OkieDawn and HarvestTime!
We just planted them about 3 weeks ago, it may have been way to late. At that time there were still cold hard freezes on many nights, I did not realize that winter would turn summer this quickly.
Is it also too late for my peas that are just now 5-10 inches tall? (I attached a photo of them)
My spicy radishes are "champion" , I will try the crimson giant or german giant in the fall!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome. With the way that our weather has been all over the place in March and April, I am inclined to think it is the weather and not anything you did.

Technically speaking, you planted your radishes within the OSU-recommended time frame of March 1st through April 15. Those recommendations are based on the average conditions experienced in Oklahoma over a long period of time and are generalities. Unfortunately, our weather does as it pleases regardless of what is expected based on decades of weather statistics. Thus, even when you plant within that range of dates, there's no guarantee that you'll have average temperature and rainfall conditions, so you still can have crop issues when you plant at the recommended periods. This is a perfect illustration of how you can do everything right and things still turn out wrong. It highlights one of the challenges of gardening in a state where you might have very warm late winter and early spring days mixed in with very cold ones.

Radishes can develop that unpleasant flavor even when the soil temps and air temps are in the range they like. Sometimes it happens because they are too dry and that causes slow development and slow development often is a sign of the kind of stress that gives you radishes with poor flavor.

Are your peas the vining type of peas or are they bush forms? Also, are they English-type green peas that you shell from the pod and eat, or are they edible-podded peas like Sugar Snap or Cascadia? My answer to your pea questions would very depending on the answer to the questions I just asked.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:49AM
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The peas are "sugar snap pea" and "sugar pod 2 snow" pea according to the packets. I do not have any experience with these peas at all, I grew up in Europe where we only planted shelling peas but I really like the flavor of the raw sugar snap peas that I bought at the grocery store so I thought I would try growing them :-)
This is only our second spring season in Oklahoma, I am still trying to get used to the weather! I did a little gardening before in Florida an Texas but now that we have more garden space I realized that I love gardening! Thank you for all the advice, I will try the radishes again in late fall when it gets cold.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Variety makes a difference in radishes too. I think the best tasting one is French Breakfast. pH matters too. Radishes like a slightly acid soil--about 6. And a little well-rotted compost, but only a little. I've had radishes rot in overly composted soil.
Your peas are looking good. My Super Sugar Snaps don't look much taller. I'm getting ready to mulch mine to keep the roots cool. I usually start picking in midMay and finish in early June. I'm in 6b over in eastern OK so usually have pretty good rain and not as much heat as early as Dawn and some others have.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:12PM
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