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daikon radish soil building  RSS feed

 
gary reif
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I am going to plant daikon on 5 acres to build the soil in spring, does anyone know how long it takes the dikon to go to seed? Would like to let it go to seed the mow it down and hopefully get it to grow again for a late summer/fall crop
Thanks
 
Jack Edmondson
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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http://www.seedalliance.org/uploads/pdf/RadishSeedManual.pdf

Seems to be heat/weather dependent. It appears you need around a hundred hours below 58 degrees in a short growing season. Then heat up to around 80 will induce bolt/flowering.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Thank you, we enjoy fermented daikon and hoping to grow a bunch more next season, great info on that link.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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I've been doing a little reading and thinking about the use of Daikon Radishes in the improvement of soil. So far I am really liking the idea. It seems to be a successful technique in commercial scale agriculture with people plant hundreds of acres of them, both as a cover crop to prepare for the next season, and in conjunction with another crop. If they can get significant increases in production and improve the soil at the same time, seems to me it would be a win win. I really like the idea from Gabe Brown of using them as both fodder for livestock (cattle) and active improvement of heavy clay soils. Mix them into a pasture and let the livestock eat the top above the soil and leave the rest in the ground to break the clay, add organic material, and feed the soil life. Excellent idea.

I would love to hear how it goes with 5 acres of them.

How do you plan to prep the soil and plant them?
 
gary reif
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Our land was hayfield (mostly grasses) for over 40 years and severely damaged to the point of no topsoil, only clay. Being so the grasses are not dense. I cut it last year about a dozen Tims to keep it short. So I will just broadcast spread the seed and roll it in. I wanted to let them grow and reseed but it sound like they don't seed out until late, so I might reseed in late summer get 2 batches to build the soil.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Gary, I chucked a lot of different radish seeds about last spring, summer, and fall in various places where I was hoping for some soil improvement. And I got it ... soil improvement, that is.

What I did not get, mostly, was any radishes. Like a lot of root crops they are fussy about actually building roots if anything is wrong about the soil structure, the heat, or the water availability. I got a lot of healthy radish greens, a lot of bolting, quite a few radish seed pods (which are edible and tasty if you pick them at the right time), but virtually no actual radishes. A few of the little globe radishes did their thing, but the daikon in particular didn't make much roots.

In my no-till situation with way too much heat and not enough water, they weren't happy enough.

I still think it was worth doing and I will be sowing more, lots more, in future. But for me, beautiful crisp white daikon radishes the size of my arm is going to take a lot more work with better planning and soil preparation.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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Dan,
I'm surprised to hear that broadcasting worked for you. When you say you rolled them in what did you use to roll? A lawn roller? Or a big agricultural roller?

All the recommendations I have read so far talk about actively planting them in the soil a half inch. None recommend broadcasting unles the soil has been tilled first. I was looking at tilling strips in specific areas that I want to focus on. That way I can plant a relatively dense stand and maybe add alfalfa at the same time. The alfalfa or clover I would broadcast over the whole area, not just in the tilled ground.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Klorinth it sounds like we are talking about very different scales. I am working on slowly changing the character of a weedy former pasture gone to scrub, which means I'm clearing brush and then disturbing with hand tools small patches (small holes, short trenches and beds, circles a few feet across) to remove weeds/grass so I can plant trees and tree seeds. Whenever I do this I "chuck" a wide variety of cover crop seeds into the disturbance. Some gets buried, some not. This got me daikon plants last year, some quite big, but no radishes.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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Dan, different scale is actually why I asked. I don't have the equipment to work my whole property all at once because it is dozens of acres. For that reason I need to focus my efforts in small areas at a time, but still try to affect the larger property. That is why I was thinking about lightly tilling strips that could then be planted and mulched each year. In one day I could probably do one or two strips. Then I would be doing individual trees the next day.

I've thought about getting a small 4' cultivator and lawn roller for my tractor. That way I could disturb the soil faster, spread seed by hand broadcaster, and then roll it in. I tried an old No-till seeder a couple years ago but it didn't work very well at all. It hadn't been used for many years so it wasn't working properly.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Sadly I don't have any experience with real tractors or ag equipment -- I only barely know what the words mean. All I have is my mattock and my shovel and my machete.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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Dan, you can do a lot with those three tools. Nothing to scoff at there. I have seen many acres of land worked with them.

I only have a little SubCompact tractor, nothing agricultural size. Mine is a bit of a joke compared to the ones I see driven around here all the time. They are the size of a house and they can drive themselves. I still do all kinds of work with my little one though. Digging, landscaping, grading, mowing, snowblowing, haying, hauling, etc. Just need to use my imagination.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Like Dan, I was disappointed with radishes. To put it in perspective, I have some ground so damaged that dandelions won't grow, not even thistles! So I guess it shouldn't be that much of a surprise.

I will continue to throw out seed, but a lot more turnips and mustard and other more weed like varieties to start.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Mustard was by far the happiest thing I scattered last summer. Mustard greens was the one thing I had so much of that I was giving it way.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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If you both had some difficulties with the growth can you tell us a bit more about what you think the cause was? Is there anyway I might prevent having the same difficulties?

R Scott, it sounds like your ground needs work before anything will grow in it. Thankfully that isn't my problem.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1275
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I bought a whole bunch of Nitro Radish for this year: Description:

Radishes claim to fame was achieved through its renowned taproot, rapid fall growth and its ability to scavenge residual nutrients. Their roots have the potential to grow several inches in diameter with a thick taproot extending 12 - 20" into the soil and a smaller taproot that can reach depths around 6'. This massive root is capable of penetrating plow pans or compaction layers in your soil.
Strengths:

Bio-Drilling
Biofumigant
Erosion Control
Forage
Infiltration
Nematode Control
Nutrient Scavenger
Weed Suppressor
Yield Booster



If it does what they say it does I'll be in heaven. My heavy clay soil needs it!

https://greencoverseed.com/species/1060
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1275
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'd like to add that I thought radishes appreciated the cold a bit more. I'll be doing mine in the fall instead of the spring. So maybe that could be part of the problem with some people's growth?

As far as tractors go I have a smaller one as well, and not many attachments for it. However, after looking at the price of buying an attachment v. renting it, renting wins. I hope that once I have my perennial cover crops established I can lay off the earth tearing machines entirely. In that case spending 1700 to own a discer v. 75 to rent one... no contest.

I did do turnips in mid summer and they grew HUGE. They tasted awful though. Very very very awful. lol The poultry loved them though so they didn't go to waste.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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I just got my hands on a 4' no-till seeder for $75!!

It needs a little work to get the cutters working properly, and I need to adjust the depth gauge, but the seed delivery seems to be working well. It holds a 50 lbs bag of grass seed, so there is a lot of space for seeds like the daikon I ordered. It will be interesting trying to get the seeding rate right though. I would like to be able to put a mix of seeds in it but Im thinking the vibration would cause the seeds the stratify. If I have grasses, legumes, and brassicas they may not stay mixed properly. I might have to do separate overlapping rows.

This will let me plant FAR more each year. I will be able to plant the 20 acre pasture with this. Not a complete planting but widely spaced rows with different mixes to work on both improving the soil (daikons, sweet clover, deep rooting grasses), and improving the grazing quality of the pasture.

If I can get a few pounds of Tillage Radish seeds I might now be able to really start improving my heavy clay soil and the deeper solid clay layers. That would be wonderful.
 
gary reif
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Great score! Can I borrow it?
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 158
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Regarding the use of various radishes for soil improvement... If they are incoporated into the soil (or simply left to rot), the organic content of the soil is increased, but does this not also create a vole paradise?

 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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Crt, that is an interesting thought. Very possible. I grew Giant Red Mangrel beets a couple years ago and the mice certainly liked them. They only ate the part above ground.

I don't know if it would really make any difference. The radishes will still be doing what I want them to do. As long as they get their roots down into the clay it is a success for me.

Lots of mice and voles just means I feed my dogs less. Win win.
 
Crt Jakhel
Posts: 158
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Well, eventually you will want to plant other stuff in that soil... If the dogs are really excellent mice/voles hunters, that's OK then.

I asked because at our location we're converting 2 acres of grass into a field and there already seems to be a healthy population of critters. Because of that I'm worried that with all that radish available, the population would just explode. (And I'm sure we won't be planting potatoes in the near future.)

If we let the dog have his way - and then follow the "work with what you got" principle - we'll have a network of fishponds instead Plus he's keeping the village cats away, some of which were really good hunters.
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 101
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
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CRT, all of the work that I am doing with the radishes and other cover crops is well away from our garden. The garden doesn't need help with this. I built it by bringing in new topsoil and adding several cubic meters of composted manure and hay. It is deep and light, full of organic matter.

I am planning to use the radishes in my pasture and in parts of our shelter belts and surrounding buffer zone along the property lines. The North property line in particular has sections with very little growing in it. I would like to improve those sections and get trees growing there.
 
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