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Radish failure - maggots?

Hi everyone,

I am a first time veggie gardener and I'd really appreciate any advise anyone can give me on a problem I've run into with my radishes as I believe they suffered from radish maggots.

I was so excited to see the red bulbs of my radishes emerging from the soil after about 3 weeks of germination. I was checking on them daily and a few days ago noticed a little blemish on the top of one. Today I couldn't wait any longer as I was concerned for the health of my veg! I pulled the little root up and cut it open, and just as I feared a couple tiny little tunnels with wiggly little maggots, I was disgusted! So I pulled up all of the radishes (devoid of the joy I was seeking from harvesting in the long run) and many had tunnels. And the other thing I noticed was many of the plants had lots of foliage but just a tiny weenie skinny radish on the end.

So now I have a bunch of questions...

1. I have kale, chantenay carrots, and boltardy beet root growing in the same raised bed where the radishes were growing. Will these flies feed on these veggies?

2. Why did some of my radishes have lots of foliage but no radish?

3. Can I sow a different crop where the radishes were?

4. Is there any way to get rid of the maggots that may be left in the soil?

* Just a little about my growing conditions. I live in the south east in St Albans. I have been growing my radishes in a raised bed that we just built this year  and filled with soil from our garden, bagged compost with John Innes, and rotted manure. I have mixed some organic fertilizer pellets into the soil before I sowed, and also fertilsed with a liquid fertiliser once during growth. It has rained quite a bit lately and I began to get a bit of moss on my soil, which I have scrapped off. I do think the soil is very wet at the moment.


Thank you very much for taking the time to look over my questions! All the best, Meredith














  • Hello, Meredith....crikey, you've got a lot going on there.

    These maggots in your radish are the same as those that attack brassicas and other root vegetables, though I've never had problems with them attacking beetroot. 

    Carrots do have maggots, but these are the grubs of the carrot fly and you need to be really vigilant to avoid these little blighters.

    Radish with lots of leaves and no radish - most probably as a result of the seed being sown too thickly or they have not been thinned out sufficiently. Those in your pic with damage to the outer skin, is slug or snail damage.

    Please don't be disheartened, these are all run of the mill problems that once you're aware of you'll take in your stride.

  • Hi David,

    Thank you very much for your reply. So if these yucky maggots are the same that attack brassicas, chances are they will get to my kale too right?

    I think I am going to set up a cloche over my carrots and see how it goes to avoid the carrot fly.

    Do you think I can replant a different veggie where the radishes were?



  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    A cloche over the carrots is a good idea, provided the fly hasn't already got at them.  Many people use fine netting - and you only need the sides as the flies can only get a couple of feet or so off the ground.  If your raised beds are high enough you might not even need that.  Or something very smelly around them to confuse the little blighters, since the flies hunt by smell.  Onions are often used but it's a bit late for that.  Old-time gardeners would use string soaked in paraffin although that's not very organic.

    Radishes are brassicas (although they're in the ground for such a short time that they don't normally need to go in the rotation) so yes, the root fly could attack the kale I fear.  Should be OK to plant a crop with fibrous roots where the radishes were - lettuce maybe?  Or how about french beans ?  Just the right time to sow them outside.

    Good luck, and don't be discouraged by the odd problem.

  • Hi again, Meredith.....yes you can plant whatever you want wherever you want, these pests are specific to the plants, not the soil.

    Not sure a cloche would be the most appropriate for your carrots at this time of year, probably something like fleece to prevent access to the flies laying their eggs. Your carrots will be particularly vulnerable when you disturb them when thinning out......the carrot fly can detect the smell from long distances.

    I would wish to encourage you, not to put you off, but it has to be remembered that everything we plant has a little critter just waiting to spoil the party....but it's great when you get the hang of maximising your chances.

    Good when you need us,


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