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Monday, November 26, 2012

Sandy Soil for Great Radishes: Winter Planning for 2013

The words 'sandy loam' come up over and over again when researching radishes. One thing to do during the winter, before the new season starts, is to review what went well and what went poorly or could have gone better in your garden. I think I can get more out my radishes. So winter time, is research and planning time. A radish plan of attack next year is being created.

I've done fairly well at growing radishes but not nearly as great as I want. What is radish greatness? Every radish, when given the right spacing, develops a root size that would challenge the Guinness Book of  World Records. Too often I have too many small or distorted radish roots. The problem... my clay soil (I think). Though it has been amended over the last 10 years, I believe it is not sandy enough for my root crops. I plan to make a raised bed that is sandy, sandy and more sandy. A good mix of my soil, bags of sand and organic matter should do the trick.

Looking forward to 2013, I plan to make a super sandy loam that won't clump when squeezed in my hand. If what I have read is true, I should have huge radishes and bigger root crops. I found this information at an extension on-line. I cover 2 of  the 3 bold topics when planting radishes. I need some of that Utah light soil to hit the 3rd topic.

How to Grow  Radishes

Soils: Radishes prefer fertile, well-drained, deep, sandy soils rich in organic matter for best growth. Most light soils in Utah are well suited for radish production. Heavy soils need to be amended with plenty of compost to allow good root development.
 

Soil Preparation: Before planting, incorporate up to 2-4 inches of well composted organic matter and apply 2-4 cups of all-purpose fertilizer (16-16-8 or 10-10-10) per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 inches of soil.

Plants: Radishes are always grown from seed. Radishes can be sown after soils reach 40ºF. Seeds germinate best at 55-75ºF and require 5-10 days to emerge. Seeds should be planted ½-1 inch deep. Maintain a uniform and moist soil surface to ensure good plant stands.Thin closely spaced plants to encourage good root size. Radishes should be thinned to 1-2 inches.




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