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Growing and post-harvest practices can affect splitting in radishes

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The way in which radishes are handled after they have been picked can affect their chances of splitting. The amount of rainfall a radish crop endures throughout its growth cycle can also affect its chances of splitting at harvest time.

These two facts were the key findings of a three-year research project, which was funded by the Horticultural Development Company in collaboration with radish growers G’s. The project investigated the causes of pre- and post-harvest splitting in radishes and was carried out at Harper Adams University by scientist Rachel Lockley.

Lockley, speaking at the end of last year at the HDC leafy salads road show in Chichester College, West Sussex, told delegates that the vegetable’s relative water content correlates with its chances of splitting. Impact and puncture tests that she carried out showed that less force was needed to puncture those radishes with higher moisture contents – such as those that had been washed after being harvested.

Lockley also said that the salad favourite is less susceptible to splitting if there are dry growing conditions during what is called its “secondary growth stage” – around day 17 of the crop’s cycle.

She said: “This growth stage is really important. A high level of water after this point is fine.”

She added that radishes are more likely to split at low temperatures.

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