Friday, May 27, 2011

garden fail friday: when a radish is not a radish

first garden fail friday of the year! although i’ve had plenty of fails already this season, i was waiting for a good one to kick it off properly. this fail is full-on user error, lack of knowledge, lack of experience with one of the supposedly easiest, most fool-proof veggies to grow in a home garden: radishes.

the problem is, i didn’t realize different varieties require different growing seasons. there are spring/summer radishes and fall/winter radishes. some will only grow in certain temperatures, some will only grow when the weather is changing from warm to cool.

early this spring, i grabbed all 10 radish varieties in my seed collection and stuck them in the ground. they all germinated, they all grew, but only a few of them made roots--six (6!) of the 10 types made top growth only. it is totally perplexing when you look at one radish growing happily just inches away from another that wants only to make leaves and a thin, woody root.

so i started looking them up one by one online, and i noticed a trend. black spanish radish: fall/winter variety. watermelon radish: winter. violet de gournay, china rose, etc etc...six out of ten, fall and/or winter. the only four radishes i planted that are successfully making radishes are french breakfast, sparkler white tip, japanese white icicle and plum purple. the odd thing is, i looked at the seed packet for watermelon radishes and it specifically instructs you to plant them in spring.

i should have caught on earlier, though. last year the first radish i ever tried to grow was china rose, and it only made top growth, then i planted sparkler radishes in practically the same spot and conditions and they grew just fine. it never occurred to me i might be planting them at the wrong time--i totally associate radishes with springtime.

anyway, life gave me radish greens, so i made sautéed radish greens. they’re very tasty, like spinach but with a little kick. that mitigates the fail somewhat, but it was still unfortunate because i wasted all those seeds and all that space that could have been used to grow other things.

anyone else failing lately? as before, if you post about it on your blog i’ll link to it here, or you can offload the burden in the comments section if you prefer.

12 comments:

Jessica said...

Congratulations on your first major fail, but even more so, congratulations on your first tomatoes and other wonderful veggies! Yay! I do have some fails that I may post if I get around to it.

Vetsy said...

You just explained why I couldn't get my radishes to grow.. I had No idea! I too, thought you just planted them in the spring or summer and that's it...

You supplied a lot of good info and opened my eyes! Thanks for sharing and clearing that mystery up.

the Knottie Knitta said...

we had a pretty epic tomato fail the other day...and i'm pretty sure that our watermellon and cantelope are kaput...

the Knottie Knitta said...

you have me questioning OUR radishes now...bad garden touch!

Bumble Lush (A Garden Blog) said...

Major bummer on the radishes! But nice job turning lemons into lemonade (radishes into radish greens ;) ). I've never had radish greens before, they look tasty.

I have a garden fail. I actually posted about it earlier this week. It's my broccoli. It was doing well and then I forgot about it for a couple of days, the weather warmed up, I went outside, and it had bolted. All of it was totally gone. That was also user error. First time trying to grow broccoli, and it didn't work so well.

Emily said...

jessica--thanks so much! it is kinda fun to fail...not when it happens but when you write about it afterward.

vetsy--i'm sorry your radishes aren't working, but it makes me feel a little better that someone else made the same mistake. i'm glad this was informative for you!

spoony--haha, sorry! sadness, tomato fail is the worst.

bumble lush--yeah, i saw your post about the broccoli, that was a shame...it looked sooo good. at least now you know it grows well there.

Kim and Victoria said...

Interesting! We've done the same damn thing I guess! No radishes, just lots of top greens. Guess I'll be sautéeing them up.

Emily said...

huh, i think this radish issue must need more publicity. you'd think the seed packets would mention something about the correct growing season, right? enjoy your greens!

GoneferalinID said...

Damn, no wonder my watermelon radishes failed. I'm gonna pull then and reuse the space. Thanks for the info.

Emily said...

yeah, sucks about the watermelon radishes, i was really looking forward to those. we'll just have to try again this fall.

Kim and Victoria said...

Emily, if you talk to Jeanne from Gone Feral, let her know I can't seem to leave a comment on her blog anymore, would you? Thanks, V.

Emily said...

oh weird. yeah, i just sent her a text. blogger's been glitchy lately.