Farmer, don’t plant those radishes close together.

Mutant (yet homegrown) radish!

Yup. There’s a reason you should give your plants some space in the planting bed. Planting radish seeds too closely together will result in mutants like the above pictured radish, or more likely long, stringy radishes that can’t figure out if they’re stem, root, or both. If you look closely at the picture below, you can see many small radishes, not all of which may prove desirable for eating.

Plateful of radishes

These were all harvested from our two gardens today. The number of cramped radishes will serve as a good lesson not just for me, but for my young daughter. She loves to plant seeds, but doesn’t yet understand why it’s important to give the seeds some space on each side. Alternately, we could have plucked the sprouts, which we fully intended to do, but somehow forgot. If we had done that, perhaps we would have gotten 15 good-sized radishes rather than a mix of 33 odd-sized and oddly shaped radishes. Either way, I’m not upset. It’s a valuable lesson for all of us in growing food.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.