While radishes are prone to some insect attacks, ants are one insect that are not a typical problem for radishes. When it comes to insect control in the garden, there are a variety of methods a gardener can use to control the other pests that do harm to radishes. Good gardening practices promote the healthiest plant growth, which will help all garden plants to overcome pest attacks.
Reason for Ants
Ants are not radish pests, however they might converge on radishes to farm aphids, which provide food for the ants through sugary secretions. Another reason for ants around radishes might be the presence of a nearby ant colony. Look around for an ant hill in the vicinity. Destroy any ant hills and consider applying an organic deterrent, such as a natural insecticidal soap, to deter ants from radishes.
While ants are not pests of radishes, radishes do have other insect problems. Aphids, cabbage worms, and flea beetles are the most common attackers of radishes and can destroy a crop before the radishes are full-grown. Commercial insecticides can be applied to the plants to control pests. A less intrusive way of preventing radish pests is to cover the rows of radishes with a lightweight cover that allows in light and moisture while keeping out damaging insects.
Planting to Deter Pests
Companion planting deters insects by rearranging the way crops are usually planted. Some plant odours can deter certain insects while others act as an insect trap. When it comes to radishes, plant them alongside mint to deter ants, even though they are not a pest to radishes. Plant them beside peas and leafy lettuce to deter the pesky cucumber beetle. Crop rotation is another way to prevent pests from taking over radishes and other root crops. Plant radishes in a different part of the garden each year to prevent nematodes and other pests from taking over one area.
Radishes are simple to grow in the garden and are a quick-growing crop that you can harvest in the spring. Sow the radish seeds a 1/2 inch deep in good garden soil and later thin the seedlings to 1 or 2 inches apart. Keep the seedlings watered well and they will be ready to harvest in approximately 25 days. You can replant radishes in September for a late-season crop.
Harvest radishes when they are about the size of a ripe grape. Pull them up by hand and refrigerate them as soon as possible. If radishes are left in the ground too long they can become cracked. Some gardeners like to have a bucket of water nearby to drop radishes into immediately after harvesting. Cut the leaves off of the radish with a sharp knife and serve. Radishes can be stored in cool temperatures for about 3 weeks.
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- Mother Earth News; All About Growing Radishes; Barbara Pleasant ; 2008
- University of Deleware; Root Crops; Dewey M. Caron; 2004
- Texas A&M; Radish; Joe Masabni
- Alabama University; Limestone County Master Gardeners; Companion Plants
- Science Daily; Herding Aphids: How Farmer Ants Keep Control of their Food; 2007