White Radishes

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SPH
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White Radishes

Postby SPH » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:48 am

Some farmers around here will plant white radish as a cover crop which helps loosen up compacted soil. Would this work on a small garden in my backyard too possibly? Anyone tried this before, if I plant them here soon will they compost down with the winter kill by the time I am ready to till and plant next spring? Would I need to plant in rows or can I just broadcast spread the seed? Live in Iowa so definitely will get the cold temps in the winter to kill them off. Just wondering if it's worth it to give this a try, the garden in question I just tilled up the first time this spring and has some clay soil the deeper you go so in theory it should help
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Re: White Radishes

Postby pdfangus » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:20 pm

they would work well on a garden....it is a bit late now....in our area Central Va I tell the guys to try to have them in by Labor day to get the most benefit....

every day after that you are losing degree growing days and diminishing the amount of growth you will get.....Dwarf Essex Rape would be a good substitute now as it overwinters here and is somewhat deep rooted.... put some cereal rye and some hairy vetch with it and then you have a real good cover crop....
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Re: White Radishes

Postby Jogeephus » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:12 pm

Do some reading on buckwheat. I once knew a guy who planted buckwheat on his clay soil and it completely transformed his soil into something that more resembled potting soil. It was incredible.
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Re: White Radishes

Postby pdfangus » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:54 am

Jogeephus wrote:Do some reading on buckwheat. I once knew a guy who planted buckwheat on his clay soil and it completely transformed his soil into something that more resembled potting soil. It was incredible.


buckwheat is an excellent soil building cover but in our area (central Virginia)it is pretty much too late now....buckwheat is a warm weather cover....I put it in my summer mixes....comes up easily and grows quickly...excellent plant for pollinators as well....buckwheat is a short season plant and may still do well this year where Jogeephus is....
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Re: White Radishes

Postby Jogeephus » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:07 pm

Pdfangus, I don't have any personal experience with the buckwheat but from what I remember he told me it had a hollow stem and would break down easily in the soil and not be a problem during tillage. Do you know if this is right? I've been trying to build my organic matter and think I may give it a try. Been adding manure but with that has come weeds. Was thinking of trying the buckwheat in early spring so it can shade out the weeds then I can turn it under. My soil is really sandy but when amended with organic matter it is really good stuff and more drought tolerant.
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Re: White Radishes

Postby pdfangus » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:43 am

Jogeephus wrote:Pdfangus, I don't have any personal experience with the buckwheat but from what I remember he told me it had a hollow stem and would break down easily in the soil and not be a problem during tillage. Do you know if this is right? I've been trying to build my organic matter and think I may give it a try. Been adding manure but with that has come weeds. Was thinking of trying the buckwheat in early spring so it can shade out the weeds then I can turn it under. My soil is really sandy but when amended with organic matter it is really good stuff and more drought tolerant.


buckwheat does seem to break down very easily....
I think you could spread it on your driveway and get a decent stand....
seems to be pretty hardy and easily germinated...
I think you would have to plant it real thick to do any weed shading though....
it is a somewhat viney and spindly plant....beautiful when it is blooming and it blooms continuously as it grows....until it is mature...
to try to smother weeds...I would try adding the appropriate cereal grain for the season and the area....here it would be spring oats ....but then not many spring cover crops here....
what will be your summer crop that you are trying to prep the land for?
why not a winter cover crop that can be rolled down or sprayed in the spring and plant the summer crop no till right into the residue...Rye and Vetch makes a lot of biomass and puts a lot of nitrogen back into the soil. Or rye and Crimson Clover....I am using barley this year because it is so much cheaper this year than rye seed....
Add some salad brassicas to the mix adds diversity....mustard will give some aleopathic effect...Tillage Radishes will probably over winter where you are and are great soil improvers...Dwarf Essex rape or canola or turnips add diversity and yield a good salad patch as well....
most of our guys plant a fall cover crop and are wanting to kill it and plant corn as soon as the first signs or spring appear....I try to get them to hold off killing the cover until april 1st but am seldom successful...they want that corn in the ground early.....

we have learned from our project that the more biomass we can put on the ground with cover crops the more resilient the soil becomes in dealing with summer drought issues...
the way to put biomass on the ground is to let the cover crops go for a while in the spring and produce that biomass...then terminate them and plant the summer crops....the key measure is the amount of biomass as opposed to the early planting date...

Consistent additions of biomass will benefit the soil in what ever manner it can be accomplished...

This is the same concept that makes intensive rotational grazing work....addition of biomass and time for grasses to heal and regrow and put down root mass....

people often do not consider the roots as a source of biomass....

four Principles of Soil Health
1. Keep the soil covered (preferably with a living plant…it not then plant residue and biomass)
2. Minimize soil disturbance
3. Maximize living roots
4. Energize with Diversity


we have buckwheat as a component of our summer cover crop mix. It is usually the first plant apparent and it dominates the stand until the warm season grasses get to cranking and then gradually the other plants fill in and take over....

our summer mixes usually have
buckwheat
sorghum sudan
pearl millet
cow peas
soy beans
a forage brassica
sunflowers

we have a guy who grazes this and get 3lbs per day gain on stockers and heifers.....another who makes hay from it and gets a lot and the cows love it...to get maximum feed benefit graze or mow by three feet tall....to get maximum soil benefit let it get taller and stemmier and let the cows take the leaves and heads and trample down the stalks....(Take half and leave half)
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Re: White Radishes

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:59 pm

Thanks. All the others you mentioned are do-able. Just have never personally used buckwheat. Have peas in the garden now. What I'm hoping to do is really push the cover crops whenever the ground isn't in use. The manure works great but the weed load I get is just more than I care for no matter how old the manure is. The last few loads of manure I got had a lot of clover in it and that is good but it also had a pile of pigweed and I'm tired of battling pigweed.
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Re: White Radishes

Postby pdfangus » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:29 am

EXCELLENT THREE MINUTE VIDEO THAT EASILY EXPLAINS THE RELATIONSHIP OF PLANTS AND MICROBES IN THE SOIL AND THE BENEFITS OF COVER CROPS IN BUILDING THAT RELATIONSHIP……

I URGE ALL OF YOU TO WATCH IT……

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgy9ArBpNiI&index=11&list=PL4J8PxoprpGa3wFYSXFu-BW_mMatleIt0
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Re: White Radishes

Postby Fedral144 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:16 am

I have 5 of these I use for breeding pens. PVC and 2" x 4" field fencing for the cage. I keep no more than 5 at a time in there, but it can be scaled up for more. I can be more specific if this interest you. I have no idea how to heat it as I leave the litter in the houses through the winter for the heat. They've survived through a few low 20's nights.
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