How To Fix Hot Radishes: Why Are My Radishes Too Hot To Eat

How To Fix Hot Radishes: Why Are My Radishes Too Hot To Eat

By: Laura Miller

Radishes are one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow, yet all too often gardeners discover their radishes are too hot to eat. Improper growing conditions and delayed harvests are what make radishes hot. So, if you’re finding your radishes too hot to eat, let’s look at some solutions to alter the growing conditions and a method to fix hot radishes you already harvested.

What Makes Radishes Hot

If you discover your garden grown radishes getting hot, the first step is to review growing conditions. Radishes are a quick crop with most varieties maturing in 25 to 35 days. They prefer cool weather and can be sown in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. (Hot weather can make radishes too hot to eat.)

When planting radish seeds, it’s best to use a seeder to achieve adequate spacing. Ideally, radish seed should be sown one inch (2.5 cm.) apart. When the seedlings have true leaves, thin to give two inches (5 cm.) spacing between plants. Overcrowding results in slower root formation and is another reason for radishes becoming too hot.

Inadequate ground moisture can also slow down the growth process. Radishes require one inch (2.5 cm.) of rain per week or supplemental water. Keeping the ground evenly moist allows radishes to grow quickly and have a mild flavor. Likewise, heavy rain or hard watering can cause the soil to crust and pack on the surface, which will also delay root maturity. Sprinkle water lightly and gently agitate the surface to break the crust.

To encourage faster growth, plant radishes in fertile soil or supplement with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in excess foliage, which can also delay root development and result in radishes getting hot.

For the best flavor, harvest radishes as soon as they reach maturity. The longer radishes stay in the ground, the hotter they become. Successive planting is one way to have a steady crop of radishes and lengthen the harvest season. Rather than one big planting, sow smaller amounts of radish seed on a weekly basis during the spring and fall when temperatures are cool.

How to Fix Hot Radishes

Now that you know what makes radishes hot you can prevent this problem in the future. But what does a gardener do with a whole crop of hot radishes? Luckily, there’s a trick to fix hot radishes:

  • Remove any garden soil by gently washing the radishes.
  • Cut off the root and stem end of each radish.
  • In the top of the radish, cut two evenly spaced slits about ¾ of the way through the root.
  • Turn the radish 90 degrees and cut two more slits so you have a checkerboard pattern.
  • Soak the radishes in ice water for approximately 45 minutes or until they become mild enough to eat.

Radishes are a great addition to salads. They make a quick, nutritious snack or can be prepared as a delicious, roasted-vegetable side dish. However you plan on using your homegrown radishes, be sure to grow them quickly and harvest them upon maturity for the sweetest, mildest flavor.

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How to Cut the Heat of Raw Radishes

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Fresh radishes are a compact treat perfect for busy students on the go. After a quick rinse you can pop them into a small Tupperware container or Ziploc bag, toss them in your backpack and they’ll last all day. When you consider that these bite size snacks are inexpensive, full of vitamins, and not to mention scrumptious, there’s no reason to choose a bag of chips instead. Unfortunately for a lot of people radishes are just too hot to eat raw. But if you don’t want to miss out on all the radish-y goodness, here’s how to beat the heat.

1. Lightly rinse radishes to remove dirt.
2. Cut off the ends of each radish.

3. Holding the radish firmly make several vertical cuts in the radish. Cut about three-quarters of the way into the radish, making sure not to cut completely through the radish.
4. Turn the radish 90 degrees and repeat step three to make a grid pattern in the radish.

5. Place the cut radishes into a bowl of ice water and leave in the fridge. The longer the radishes sit in the cold water the milder their taste will become. As such, the length of the ice bath should be adjusted according to individual taste. However, roughly forty-five minutes is recommended.

6. Remove the radishes from the ice water and they’re ready to eat. Enjoy this pleasant treat now or store in a dry container or plastic bag and save them for later.

Planting Radish Seeds

You can plant radish seeds in the spring or fall, but keep in mind that although radish plants prefer sunny spots, they do not like temperatures that are too hot. Choose a soil that is not easily compacted. If your garden does not contain much organic matter, add some all-purpose fertilizer or aged compost and remove any dirt clumps or rocks.

Plant radish seeds four to six weeks before the last frost or four to six weeks before the first fall frost. The seeds should be sowed 1 inch apart, 1/2 to 1 inch deep and in rows that are spaced 12 inches apart. You can add more seeds about every 10 days as long as the weather remains cool enough.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends planting radish seeds rather than growing radishes from radishes since it is better not to disturb the roots of the plant. Another great thing about radish plants is that they can be planted later than any other root crop in the early fall and late summer.

Reader Comments

Radish Greens

Submitted by A ROCKWELL on March 4, 2021 - 8:45am

Radish greens can be eaten in salads or steamed use the smallest leaves u can find they are more tender


Submitted by Cindy on August 21, 2020 - 12:26pm

I receive occasional farmers' market radishes with leaves still on the radishes.
Usually in our grocery store many vegetables get occasional spray with water.
The latest pack looks like it has wilted leaves. Are they still edible?


Submitted by Peta on July 9, 2020 - 2:38am

I grew Cherry Belle and Pink Beauty they grew quickly and taste great SEQld Australia month of July


Submitted by Sandra Elliott on July 6, 2020 - 11:46am

My radishes are not growing big enough to eat, the top is big and when pull them they are very small. What and why is this happening and what do I need to do to correct this Please and thank you Sandra

Why Radishes Are Small

Submitted by The Editors on July 6, 2020 - 2:20pm

Hi Sandra,
There are a few reasons why your radishes are not growing properly. Radishes are sensitive to overcrowding, so when they are young (1 to 2 inches high), it’s important to thin them to give them at least 2 inches of space between each plant. Another possibility is your soil may be compacted or dense. Radishes need soft, loose, and well-draining soil to be able to grow properly. Also, at this point in the growing season, the radishes may be bolting (going to seed). The reason for the large tops may be that they are growing a seed stalk, which will tripple the height of the plant. Try growing another crop of radishes in late summer/early fall, when the weather begins to cool again!

Submitted by arjuna on June 9, 2020 - 4:44pm

i used some of this data for my research paper in 5th grade and of course i said it was from you guys! this data is real!

Submitted by arjuna on June 9, 2020 - 4:44pm

i used some of this data for my research paper in 5th grade and of course i said it was from you guys! this data is real!

Submitted by arjuna on June 9, 2020 - 4:44pm

i used some of this data for my research paper in 5th grade and of course i said it was from you guys! this data is real!


Submitted by K guthrie on May 24, 2020 - 10:09am

I grew mine in a long container of flesh bought compost rainbow mix of fresh seeds. Great results. Only one seemingly nibbled by something.

Can you eat the tops and if so can I cook them with spinach for best results


Submitted by Dayle on May 21, 2020 - 4:38pm

The article mentions cutting, washing and storing in the refrigerator but you don't mention how long they will last. You do mention the greens, but not the actual radishes.

Watermelon Radishes

Submitted by Kat on May 6, 2020 - 2:14pm

In response to Carla, watermelon radishes are a winter radish and should be planted near Or after the summer solstice. Winter radishes are sensitive to day length and if planted when days are still getting longer they may bolt and flower without producing a large edible root.

Watermelon Radish

Submitted by Carla on April 8, 2020 - 9:16am

I have raised beds, I rotate my crops. My regular radishes do great, the Watermelon radish only produce leaves. What is wrong with the watermelon radish that I get no vegetable at the end?


Submitted by JOSEPH HADI on January 16, 2020 - 6:41pm

When i plant my radishes every year plant the seeds like 1" - 2" deep after 2 weeks start sprouting but it comes out to the surface why is it happening like that .
Thank you

Others ways to use Radishes

Submitted by Joseph Liddle on October 18, 2019 - 11:18pm

Thickly broadcast seed, hundreds+.
1) After four true leaves, thin to 2inch, eat the thinnings. About 1-2 weeks.
2) Eat the roots, of course, about 3-4 weeks.
3) Let some go to flower. Attracts bees. 1-3 months.
4) Eat the thick green seed pods. About 3-5 months.
4) Harvest seeds when pods are dry. Save some. Sprout others to eat. About 5 months.

Greens and root

Submitted by Birdie on July 4, 2019 - 9:43am

I as wondering if while growing the radish will the radish grow bigger if you cut the greens off while they are still growing in the ground?


Submitted by The Tuxedo Gardener on May 29, 2019 - 12:50pm

I have been growing radishes for years using a method of gluing, using a mixture of water and flour, the seeds at the manufactures spacing to the cheapest toilet paper. I then lay the sheet on top of the growing medium and cover with coffee grounds and lightly water for a couple days. Thus, no thinning needed. Generation rate of over 95%.

The most interesting thing is the radish itself grows on the surface with the root growing into the growing medium. You see the size of the radish without pulling any out of the ground. This really improves on the success rate of the radish harvest and minimizes the amount of effort and waste.


Submitted by laura smith on August 25, 2019 - 3:04pm

do radishes come in different varities


Submitted by Ian BROOKS on May 29, 2019 - 6:17am

If the radishes are thinned to one or two inches apart, why does there need to be 12 inches between rows? I think this is because this advice has always been given on seed packets, probably to allow room to walk between the rows for weeding. I have had problems with all leaves and no bulb and have found a round radish F1 "Vienna", the best to grow. I get the seeds from a German-owned supermarket chain here in the UK.

Submitted by The Editors on May 31, 2019 - 12:09pm

You got it: the spacing is meant for traditional rows that you’d need to walk between. If you’re growing in a raised bed or container, however, feel free to plant rows closer together.


Submitted by maverick on May 5, 2019 - 12:26pm

My radishes never get any bigger around than a pencil lead. clay type soil Travis county Texas.


Submitted by R.Finke on May 25, 2019 - 11:49am

Problem as above. Planted in ten inch pots .Potting mix used for soil.

Radish Problems

Submitted by The Editors on May 28, 2019 - 2:44pm

Radishes that are planted in soil that’s too clayey, rocky, or high in nitrogen can end up producing thin roots but plenty of leaves. Make sure that the soil isn’t compacted and doesn’t have a lot of added nitrogen.


Submitted by Lauri Dowell on April 27, 2019 - 12:55pm

We have raised beds and usually our radishes grow and are delicious. But the past two years all they did was grow leaves on top but the radish root didn’t form. What do I need to add to the soil for the radishes to grow again?

Radical radishes

Submitted by The Editors on April 30, 2019 - 3:10pm

Do you plant the radishes in the same part/place in your garden every year? Per above, you should only put them in the same spot every three years. Has the soil got enough organic matter? How’s the pH? Excess acidity and excess nitrogen in the soil will slow the formation of radishes. Test for either or both of these conditions. Has the weather been uncommonly warm? Too hot conditions will cause early bolting. Crowded conditions will halt formation of a root bulb too. Any of this sound like you?

Eat Radish Greens

Submitted by JoAnne on March 28, 2019 - 7:19am

Don't toss out your NUTRITIOUS radish greens. They are high in vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and high in minerals.


Submitted by HermioneGabby on November 29, 2018 - 7:28am

What type of radish can grow the fastest?

Fast-growing radishes

Submitted by Catherine Boeckmann on December 3, 2018 - 4:20pm

These varieties mature 20 to 30 days from seeding and can be grown in spring or fall.

‘Cherry Belle’ - This globe- to round-shaped variety has bright red skin and white flesh. Popular with home gardeners.

‘Early Scarlet Globe’ - This classic globe-shaped, red-skinned, and white-fleshed variety features a mild, crisp flavor.

‘ D’A vignon’- This French breakfast-type radish is elongated, with red skin and a white tip. It withstands some hot weather without getting pithy.

‘Sparkler’- A globe-shaped, red-skinned variety with a white tip, ‘Sparkler’ has white, crisp flesh

‘White Icicle’- This slender, 4-inch-long, white radish is mild flavored and tender.

Daikon Radish

Submitted by Barbara Wells on February 14, 2019 - 3:05pm

My husband is Japanese and LOVES his long thick radish for miso, etc. We buy it in a Japanese market nearby, but I would like to try growing it myself. Do you think a deep plastic pot would suffice, rather than into our clay soil, which would need much amendment I believe.
Have you any experience growing these 12-16" radishes?


Submitted by Burppee anjel on November 11, 2018 - 1:59pm

What kind of soil do I need to grow radish in the fall.

Soil for radishes

Submitted by Catherine Boeckmann on November 13, 2018 - 11:02am

Hi, Burppee, Your question is answered above. “Though the soil needs to be rich in organic matter, it can not be compacted. If your soil is more clay-like, mix in some sand to loosen it and improve drainage. And till your garden bed to remove any rocks before planting. If your soil isn’t rich in organic matter, incorporate a few inches of aged compost or all-purpose fertilizer (see packaging for amount) into the planting site as soon as the soil is workable.”

Choosing Varieties for Heat Tolerance — One of a Set of Variables in the Summer Success Equation

Even the most heat-tolerant, cool-weather varieties have their upper limits. In the Deep South none of the crops mentioned in this article are grown at the height of summer, with the exception of summer carrots, perhaps. And lettuce will always perform better in cooler conditions. Nevertheless, people want to enjoy fresh salads and slaws all summer long, so a selection of varieties that perform well through the stressful summer growing conditions must always be available. The varieties we carry and recommend here at Johnny's, while still affected by intense summer conditions, will outperform others.

Succession planting also plays a fundamental role in the equation for summer success, including the practice of sowing Summer-Plant for Fall-Harvest Varieties. While succession planting is often regarded as a season-extension strategy in principle, in this case it relates to working in sync with seasonal temperature cycles, leveraging higher germination temperature ranges of certain crops and planning the time of harvest to occur in cooler temps. Brassicas, carrots, and turnips are prime candidates for planting in the heat of summer. To learn more, refer to the articles and calculator provided in our Succession Planting Overview.

No matter where you grow, putting a plan in place before the arrival of peak hot, humid weather will help minimize the detrimental effects of heat on your success. By choosing varieties known to be heat-tolerant, timing your plantings accordingly, following Best Hot-Weather Cultural Practices, and Cooling & Storing Your Summer-Harvested Crops correctly — as well as tracking what works best under which conditions — you can maximize the quality of your cool-weather crops during warm and hot weather.

Watch the video: What Happens When you Plant 6000 Seeds Without Spacing Them? FINAL RESULTS!