The majority of the radishes I harvested were of this form - bent so that part grew parallel to the soil above the ground, with the stalk taking another 90 degree turn to return to vertical.

What happened?

enter image description here

  • 2
    Did you start them from seed directly in the soil where they grew or did you transplant them? Was the soil loose and friable or was it compacted? Compacted soil and transplanting from a smaller container could cause this. Jun 10, 2015 at 18:16
  • @OrganicLawnDIY These were seeded directly into really loose soil - mostly sand with compost. Would planting depth have anything to do with it?
    – That Idiot
    Jun 10, 2015 at 19:49
  • Mine looked like that tho year too, I thought it was a result of rain followed by sun, but that's not a particularly novel weather pattern... Jun 11, 2015 at 2:05
  • This looks like something damaged the side of the radish root, causing scar tissue that was not able to grow to keep up with the rest of the root causing it to curl as the root expanded. My first suspect would be nematode damage. Since so many of your radishes were deformed this way, you might want to get an expert on-site opinion - ie, talk to your local agricultural extension service and take a few in for examination when you do.
    – TeresaMcgH
    Jun 11, 2015 at 18:15
  • Looks like it was spiritually taken over by a grub.
    – sborsher
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


This appears to be typical root-knot nematode damage. You may have had infected mustard-family plants growing in the area before, and not realized it.

These are difficult to control. I usually manage them with crop rotation. Here's a useful bit from UC IPM:

Management of nematodes is difficult. The most reliable practices are preventive, including sanitation and choice of plant varieties. You can reduce existing infestations through fallowing, crop rotation, and soil solarization. However, these methods reduce nematodes primarily in the top foot or so of the soil, so they are effective only for about a year. They are suitable primarily for annual plants or to help young woody plants establish. Once nematodes infest an area or crop, try to minimize damage by adjusting planting dates to cooler times of the season when nematodes are less active. Try to provide optimal conditions for plant growth including sufficient irrigation and soil amendments to make plants more tolerant to nematode infestation.

  • thank you for this info. Can you point me to photos showing the nematode damage resulting in the type of malformation in my photo? Everything I seem to come up with is nodular, not bent like this. And have you heard of companion cropping with oyster or wine cap mushrooms to mitigate nematode infestation? Looks promising - and delicious.
    – That Idiot
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:56
  • @ThatIdiot Sorry, I didn't think to snap any pics when I had that happen. Companion planting with mushrooms sounds great but I doubt it will be practical.
    – J. Musser
    Sep 15, 2015 at 22:06

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