QUESTION: Why are my radishes growing above ground? Will they be ok? – Melissa H
ANSWER: Once you’ve cultivated and tended radish plants for a while, the last thing you want to see is the radishes growing above ground. We’re ready to tell you the reasons why this happens and what you can do about it. Just keep reading to find out more.
It is normal for you to see a bit of the top of a radish as it grows in the ground. If you see only the shoulders of the radish above the ground, you have nothing to worry about.
Even the most loose soil will be hard as a rock if it dries out. For this reason, make sure your radishes get plenty of moisture from rainfall or the water you give them. If the soil is too dry, they may not be able to delve into it as they grow.
If you think your radishes are above ground because of dry soil, start by carefully digging the radishes up. Plant your radishes with just the greens and shoulders visible above ground. Then water them, and make sure to water them faithfully so the soil doesn’t get dry.
There’s a simple test you can use to show you when it’s time to water your radishes. Just stick a finger into the soil near where your radishes are growing. Does the soil feel moist to the touch? Does the soil stick to your finger? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s time to water your radish plants.
Failure to Thin Seedlings
Check the seed packet or product description for instructions specific to your radish variety. They should include instructions for how much to thin out your seedlings and when to do so. If this step is skipped and radishes are growing too close together, they may pop up above the soil because they just don’t have the room to grow underground.
If this is the case for your radishes, you’ll need to carefully dig them up and plant them farther apart. Use the thinning instructions as a guide for how far apart to place your radishes. If the instructions say to thin your plants to stand 6 inches apart, then plant your radishes 6 inches apart.
Incorrect Soil Temperature
Radishes are particular about the soil temperature, and it’s easy for them to get too hot or too cold if you miss the best window for planting them. Check the chart on your seed packet or the product description if you ordered seeds online to find out the best time for planting in your region.
Ready for Harvest
When it’s time to harvest your radishes, they may show it by popping up out of the soil a bit. Once they’re visible above the ground, they won’t be doing much more growing, so go ahead and harvest them.
Seeds Planted Too Shallow
If your radish seeds weren’t sown deep enough, as they develop they may grow above the ground. Radish seeds should be planted at least an inch and a half deep in order to avoid this problem.
If you suspect this is the problem, carefully dig up each radish and plant it so that only the shoulders and the green tops are visible.
Soil Not Loose Enough
Radishes need a bit of loose, deep soil to grow into, just like carrots do. If the soil is too hard and compacted, radishes won’t be able to dig their roots in and make space to grow underground. Up to the top 14 inches of soil should be mixed with well rotted compost in order to give it the loose texture radish plants need.
If at least half an inch of the radish is visible above ground (or more than half an inch), compacted soil is the most likely culprit. If you suspect this is the problem with your radish plants, dig up the soil around them and mix in a bit of compost to loosen it a little before you replace it. The compost must be well rotted before you use it in the garden.
Now you know all about why radishes may grow above ground. All that’s left to do is correct the problem with the instructions we’ve given you here, and you’ll be enjoying a hefty harvest of radishes later in the season.