Radishes are cool season veggies that are easy to grow. They attain maturity rapidly and plantings can be staggered to provide a wealth of radishes throughout the growing season. Even though they are simple to grow in abundance, there are a number of garden radish pests to watch out for. If you’re amongst the ranks squawking “Help, something is eating my radishes!” read on to find out how to combat radish insect pests.
Help, Something is Eating my Radishes!
No one knows exactly where radishes originate from, but they can be found growing from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea. They thrive in cool, moist climates with the optimal temperature between 60 and 65 degrees F. (15-18 C.). They do well in almost any soil type but prefer light, sandy loam with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.
They are easy to propagate from seed sown directly into a prepared bed in full sun to part shade. Sow seeds to a depth of ½ inch (1 cm.), 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart, with 12 inches (31 cm.) between rows. Keep the seedlings moist.
Radishes like a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer over the course of their growing season. Plants are mature between 30 and 50 days from sowing. That is, if all goes well and the plot isn’t infiltrated by bugs that eat radishes.
So, what types of insects that attack radishes are there?
Insects that Attack Radishes
You are growing radishes because you like to eat them, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of bugs that eat radishes too. Among the radish insect pests that primarily attack radish foliage, the following culprits are to blame:
Cabbage maggots give radishes a double whammy. Not only do they nibble tunnels through the plant’s roots, they are transmitters of bacterial black soft spot and other pathogens. All cole crops are susceptible, especially when immature.
Snails and slugs will also munch on radishes. The foliage is again the attraction here, but if you had planned on eating the radish greens, you’re out of luck.
Treating Radish Insect Pests
How can you combat these garden radish pests? Well, there are always pesticides which may or may not work. A better plan of attack is more preventative.
- Use floating fabric row covers to keep the insects off the plants.
- Be sure to give the plants enough space for good air circulation and weed around the plants to prevent those dark, moist conditions that pest’s desire.
- Water plants early in the morning.
- Rotate your radish crop; don’t plant in the same area of the garden more than once per growing season.
- Collars made of plastic cups or cardboard tissue rolls can be placed around young plants to protect them from cutworms, as can turning the soil prior to planting. This will expose cutworms so the birds can hopefully make a meal of them.
- Lastly, you can wage war against the radish pests by introducing beneficial insects.