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Author Topic: Tillage Radishes Growing Great  (Read 892 times)
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tbird
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« on: December 15, 2012, 01:26:25 AM »

  When I planted the tillage radishes in my smaller 30X35 garden I planted them heavily.  As a result they are growing way too close so I am thinning them each day.  I also planted Purple Top turnips thick and they too are being thinned daily.  When Nancy and I thin the garden we thin twice a day. Once in the morning Nancy thins about a handful of radishes and a few turnip plants and then I do the same in the afternoon.  The Tillage Radishes are right at 3 - 4 weeks and they have not started forming actual radishes,  but their roots go down at least 10" to 12" already.  The tops are bright green and about 8" to 10" tall.  We feed the tops and roots of both radishes and turnips to the chickens and they go wild.  As soon as they see us in the garden picking they start cackling an gathering at the front of the run which is less than 20' from the garden.   They sure love their greens in winter!  


  So far this week we had 3 nights as low as 28o and the radishes showed some very light wilting at the tops of the leaves.  I figure the young leaves of the tallest plants were high enough off the ground so the cold affected them but not hardly noticeable.  I think they are a very cold resistant plant, and had I planted them in October, as I was supposed to do instead of late November, they would be large enough to not be affected at all by temps as low as 25o.

  So I am going to take a few pics tomorrow of the radishes and we;ll see what you think of them.    Wink
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 01:34:42 AM by tbird » Logged

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Soilguy
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 08:51:36 AM »

This is a friend of mine, a commercial watermelon grower, and a tillage radish he dug up in a field we visited that he's renovating. The field is badly depleted and, as can be seen, has a hardpan  Shocked. The radish will do a lot to break up that pan. Great example of "biological tillage". Larry

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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 09:20:54 AM »

This is a very interesting topic. How do you go about determining when to till up the radishes? Or is it possible that you could just mow them down and they'd rot in the ground? In most of my gardens, I have about 6-8 inches of decent soil, with the hard clay pan just below. I do run a ripper thru them to break the pan and improve aeration. But to be able to accomplish the same thing while building the soil sounds like a smart way to go about it.

Bobby
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AllisCA
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 09:52:29 AM »

This is a friend of mine, a commercial watermelon grower, and a tillage radish he dug up in a field we visited that he's renovating. The field is badly depleted and, as can be seen, has a hardpan  Shocked. The radish will do a lot to break up that pan. Great example of "biological tillage". Larry


That is very interesting. The pic really shows what is going on. Next year I will be interested in trying those. Will need to start early though.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2012, 10:41:57 AM »

Bobby; folks around here usually mow the radish tops in the spring/summer. The heat really knocks them back anyway. The belowground parts quickly turn to mush, like a decomposing potato seed piece. Planted along where crop rows will be, the radish does a great job of making the soil softer for planting. They also mine up nutrients and concentrate them in the crop row. Bottom line, they really aren't tilled in at all. The only soil movement is whatever horizontal pushing the roots do as they force their way down; that's what breaks up pans. Radish is not always foolproof...some pans yield only to the chisel shank, but where they do, they're a real benefit to the soil.

AllisCA; these were planted in November, I believe. The pic was taken in early May, well into the growing season here. If this field was going to be used right away, the field would have been mowed in February or March. My friend was not going to plant this field until the cover cropping improved it. Larry  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2012, 11:55:02 AM »

I see in the photo that they're blooming.  Radishes make a lot of seeds.  If he had a way to combine that field, he'd have another cash crop, plus have enough time for many other kinds of heat loving crops.  I bet there aren't many weeds that field.  I see this as a trend because soils in many places have been depleted and starved for organic residues.  I'm thinking this is also an excellent way to build up marginal soil that's never been fertile.  That's the kind I have.  I have the radishes growing in scattered beds and patches and have to thin them out to achieve any root size.  I just broadcasted the seed but next time, I'll mix it with some sand or something to get a lighter coverage.  Mine have only had rain twice since September 30 but I've watered them.  I spotted one at the edge of the bed that was about 3/4"
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 04:53:18 AM »

Tutti', you're right. I didn't even think of harvesting the seed on that radish. I'm not sure about the protection on that named variety. He did, if I recall (I took that pic in May of 2011, I think) come back after mowing the radish and milkpod vetch and plant either sunn hemp or mungbean. He's a great cooperator who's really doing things profitably with cover crops and soil quality. Thanks!  Smiley Larry
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 06:57:19 AM »

  When I planted the radishes I planned on harvesting the seed.  I plan on harvesting enough seed to plant the 120' X 70' garden next fall.  I figure if I can keep harvesting seed from the yearly growth, I will never have to buy another 2 lbs. of seed again.  Not only that but with all the seed I may obtain I may just go around my 18+ acres planting them in all kinds of places to improve soil and drainage.  These things are great.  Some people also use the greens in salads.  That I will try and if I am still able to post after eating it,  well,  then I'll let you know how it tastes!   Grin Grin Grin Grin
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tuttimato
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 08:52:52 AM »

I tried some leaves in a salad and they added a nice peppery touch.  It's easy to over do it so be careful.  I started thinning yesterday and it's not the easiest to do.  The roots are like strings about 4 to 5 " long and they don't want to pull unless you get all the way to ground level and bunch up all the leaves for a handle. The stems are so tender they want to break off.  The tops are so tall and thick that it's impossible to see what I'm doing.  All that makes it slow going.  I will definitely remember to sow lightly next time.  The one that was 3/4" a week ago is at least an inch now.  It seems like they might be a fast growing thing if they have space.
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 09:02:41 AM »

Tut,  there are about 10 different large deep growing radishes called "Tillage Radishes."  What ones do yo have?  I have the "Ground Hog Radish."  There is no Latin name so I cannot be more specific.  I would just like to know the different ones we are all planting and how they differ.   Wink

  This is also called a Forage Radish.
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2012, 09:38:49 AM »

I don't know.  I got mine from another member here who got them at his local ag supply store.  I'll ask.  Like you, I'm planning to set aside one of my beds for seed saving, hybrid or not.  I figure that even they don't hold up forever that they should be good for several generations.  I got some practice last spring when several regular radishes went to flowering and I thought to save seeds.  It's about the same as any other cole crop.
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2012, 11:53:48 AM »

I'm thinking I need to get on the bandwagon and try some of these radishes next year as a winter crop. Most of my beds are sitting empty right now (well except for the dead vegetation I haven't got around to pulling and composting). If these will grow all winter and then break down with the heat, that will nicely conform to my no-till beds.
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2012, 02:21:54 PM »

This is a friend of mine, a commercial watermelon grower, and a tillage radish he dug up in a field we visited that he's renovating. The field is badly depleted and, as can be seen, has a hardpan  Shocked. The radish will do a lot to break up that pan. Great example of "biological tillage". Larry


"Spiking" the earth with nutrition.  I'm a firm believer in natural tillage methods, and seeing photos like this is so inspiring. Smiley
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