The Garden Patch: Fresh radishes will be sprouting soon – Osage County Online | Osage County News

The Garden Patch: Fresh radishes will be sprouting soon

I know! I know! I know! Halloween is past but pie season isn’t. So, let’s visit about an old standby this week – PUMPKINS! Not carvin’, cookin’!


013014-pumpkinsPumpkin is a warm-season crop used primarily for Halloween decoration; it is also used for pies, breads, cookies, soup and roasted seeds. Immature flowers can be stir-fried and small pumpkins used as summer squash.

Varieties. Pumpkins produce large, sprawling vines that take up a lot of space in the garden. Some pumpkin varieties are bush or semi-vining types that take less space but still spread.

  • Small. Small Sugar Pie and Spookie are 8- to 10-pound size, while Baby Pam is smaller. Jack Be Little and Munchkin are miniature pumpkins.
  • Medium. Spirit (compact vine), Cinderella, (compact vine), and Youngs Beauty.
  • Large. Connecticut Field, Howden, Jackpot (semi-vining), and Ghost Rider are jack-o-lantern types. Autumn Gold colors quickly and completely.
  • Huge. Big Max, Atlantic Giant and Big Moon are specimen types.

When to plant. Pumpkins can be safely planted after all danger of frost is past in Early to mid-May. However, most growers prefer to plant in early to mid-June to ensure that pumpkins do not mature too early. June planted pumpkins are ready for harvest in early October.

Spacing. Pumpkin vines need 50 to 60 square feet per hill – one to two plants – and standard vining types should be planted about 4 to 5 feet apart in 12 foot rows. Small or semi-vining types should be planted about three to four feet apart in 6 foot rows. Plant seed about an inch deep.

Care. Provide shallow cultivation to keep weeds from developing in areas where vines will spread because weeds will be difficult to remove later. Water thoroughly as the fruit starts to develop. Only female flowers develop into fruit; male flowers outnumber female flowers and appear first. Bees transfer pollen from male to female flowers, requiring care in application of pesticides that may kill bee populations.

Harvest. Pumpkins are ready for harvest when the skin is tough and hard and the stem no longer “leaks” when cut from the vine. Cut the stem with a sharp knife or pruning shears to leave a “handle” attached to each fruit. Store pumpkins in a warm, dry location for two to three weeks to further dry and cure the fruit. Storage temperatures of 50 – 60 degrees in a dry location out of direct sunlight will maintain pumpkins’ bright color.

Common concerns. Powdery mildew and squash bugs.



013014-radishesRadishes, a cool weather vegetable, are among the first vegetables that can be used from the garden. Radishes need a sunny location and can be grown in early spring and as a fall crop. As the weather gets hot, however the flavor of radishes gets strong and hot.

Varieties. Round red varieties include Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, Red Prince, Red Boy and Comet. White radishes include Icicle and Round White. Multicolored (white to pink to red) varieties include Easter Egg. White and multicolored varieties generally require longer to mature.

When to plant. Plant radishes in mid- to late-March for a spring crop or in early September for a fall crop. Make successive plantings so that you will have a continuous supply over a longer period of time. A special type of radish such as the large winter radish or Oriental radish might require as long to mature as beets or carrots and requires the same culture.

Spacing. Radishes can be grown in narrow 15-inch rows, and in bed or wide-row plantings. Each radish needs 1 to 2 inches to enlarge its root, so thin thickly planted seedlings to this spacing. Plant seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep.

Care. Radishes require loose, well-drained soil and need frequent watering for a good crop. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer can encourage lush tops with poor sized radishes. Control weeds while they are small, and be careful not to damage the shallow root system of this spring crop.

Harvesting. In loose soil, radishes can easily be pulled, especially if the soil is moist. For elongated radishes in heavy soil, a spading fork may be necessary. Store excess radishes by removing the tops and placing in plastic bags in a refrigerator. Radishes will remain good for a week or more.

Common concerns. Flea beetles and root maggots.

What’s next week? Rhubarb! And spinach! Don’t know about you folks, but I get super hungry just thinking about them! Well, why not? It’s 30 minutes past noon right now as I write this and I’ve got to drive 30 plus miles for a lunch at 2 p.m. Some day I’m gonna wise up! It’s taken a lot of years so far, but I will! Till next week!

stevehallerSteve Haller, of Osage City, a K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener, writes The Garden Patch featuring gardening ideas and tips for gardeners in northeast Kansas. In his words: “I am not a horticulturist. By education I am an economist. By experience, I am a marketing guru from a local to an international scale. Gardening was taught to me by my grandfather and my Mom, and I’ve been doing it since World War II was going on.”

Steve can be contacted at [email protected], or leave questions or comments below.

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