Follow Me on Pinterest follow us in feedly like us on facebook

Email Subscription

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Trial and Error

They say that the difference between a green thumb and a black thumb is not the number of plants that you kill, it is persistence and learning from your mistakes.  You gotta keep trying even when you kill your plants! I’ve definitely killed my share of plants.

I posted a couple weeks ago about my budding radish garden.  I had read that growing french breakfast radishes is so easy that elementary school kids can grow them for science class.  I also read that they are ready for harvest in a mere three weeks!  That’s not how things worked out for my radishes.  Initially they sprouted quite rapidly, growing about 5 inches in just one week.  They grew a tall skinny stalk with two little green leaves on the top.  But after the first week, they completely froze and all progress halted – I knew something was wrong.  Then after the second week the leaves began to wilt and the stalk began to sag.  What happened??

My first batch. They look very thin, tall and flimsey... with tiny cotyledons.

so sad and sagging

If radishes are supposedly so easy to grow, I knew that the problem had to be relatively simple.  I looked up several sites describing how to grow radishes.  Some mentioned that they should be planted in compost but not all claimed it was necessary, so I decided that might not be the problem. The one thing that EVERY site mention is that radishes need full sun.  We did have about two weeks of cloudy rainy weather after I first planted my radishes.  Also, the windowsill where I was keeping the radishes got decent light, but it was not the sunniest in the apartment.  So I planted a new batch and moved the window box to a sunnier location.

Four days after planting the new seeds, they have sprouted and already look significantly different from my first batch.  They have not grown nearly as tall as my first batch, but the seedling leaves (cotyledons) are much broader, flatter, and a much darker green.  It makes me think the first batch grew so tall and skinny in an effort to search out a better light source.  I had a similar problem with I grew cilantro in my old place last year (tall flimsy stalks), and I’m considering giving cilantro another try now that I know this.  Also, the new buds are already growing new tiny spikey leaves (true leaves) in between the cotyledons.  For reference, here’s a website that describes this process.  I take this as a good sign!  My only worry is that radishes prefer colder weather, and its been hot in NYC lately.  Supposedly french breakfast radishes resist the heat better than other varieties, so that brings me hope.

Second batch seedling

If things go well, I’m planning to grow a continuously rotating crop throughout the summer, planted in 1.5 week rotations.  In the mean time, I’ll be getting my salt and butter ready.

the second batch has been planted in the spaces between the original batch which is wilting.

P.S. This weekend Joe and I will have our first free Saturday in weeks, so we plan to finish painting the kitchen.  Hopefully I’ll have before and after pics soon!

3 comments to Trial and Error

  • Oh, this makes me want to share pictures of my small container garden too! Prior to this year, I’ve had little success with plants. Now, even the basil plants I thought were dead have grown lots of leaves! Also, my radishes and cilantro are flourishing! Keep at it, and you’ll eventually see success 🙂

  • rebecca

    yay!!! hmm…maybe that’s what happened to one of my plants. b/c it sprouted and grew really fast at first but then it stopped and died (it wasn’t radishes but it looked EXACTLY like your 1st round of radish seedlings). i’m gonna have to research it a little to see if perhaps it was a sunlight issue.

  • min

    Thank you, I’ve been looking for a site that would explain my long stringy radishes! I initially propped them up with more soil, thinking I’d sown them too shallow. Guess I’ll pop in new seeds now and hope for the best. And congratulations on the recent radish harvest!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>