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soil building with daikon radish

 
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Do they really stink if planted in spring and they die and rot in summer?
 
pollinator
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Location: New Hampshire
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Mine swale does not stink other than the flowers. I have rotting roots but it doesn't smell.
 
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Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Rather than post a new topic I figured a necro-post was OK here - let me know if that's frowned upon here.

Anyway. I'm thinking of planting some daikon or tillage radishes in late August here in Western MA (zone 5a) to break up some badly compacted ground. It's in my front yard and we're in a town / small city, and I'm worried about the smell from the radishes rotting. If they die when the freeze comes (November, probably) will they smell bad as they rot when the snow melts in March? Is there any way to prevent or lessen the smell? Are there other tillage crops that don't have the problem?
 
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Steven Goode wrote:Are there other tillage crops that don't have the problem?



Turnips work well and didn't smell that I noticed. I planted forage turnip seed, which was dirt cheap. I even ate quite a few myself but they are a bit funky in flavor sometimes.
 
steward
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Over the winter I started doing a little experimenting with fermenting different veggies.  I stumbled on this video for fermented daikon radish and it's so good that when the store didn't have daikon one week, I made sure to add them to my seed order for this year.  I'm wicked excited to be growing a huge supply of these radishes.

I got my seed from Johnny's seeds (radishes) .  

I got the recipe from here



Tomorrow is grocery day, and they better have daikon.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I use Ground Hog radish from Welter Seed.  Welter Seed  They will ship any amount, will mix for you, and have good shipping prices and great customer service.  This is the seed I use most for breaking up my heavy clay ground.  I have grown them in very heavy clay with no fertilizer, compost, or any other help as long as my arm and bigger around than my wrist.  I find them very good to eat straight from the garden.  My chickens and dogs like them so much they will dig them up to eat them.

For the people that mentioned it, if you plant these in the fall and let them winter kill, yes, in spring when they thaw, the stink.  The smell doesn't carry much in a garden size area, but when you are in it, they stink when they rot.
 
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Location: Canada
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Last couple of years I had been growing icicle radish in a permaculture test bed with a variety of plants. The first year I planted and they reseeded themselves last year. I really enjoy eating the radish pods. They are better then the root in my opinion.

The neighbor had some steers get out and they found my test bed. They seemed to prefer radish tops and comfrey the most. Pretty much wiped them both out. The comfrey grew back of course but the radishes will probably need to be planted again.
 
pollinator
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Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Craig Dobbson wrote:Over the winter I started doing a little experimenting with fermenting different veggies.  I stumbled on this video for fermented daikon radish and it's so good that when the store didn't have daikon one week, I made sure to add them to my seed order for this year.  I'm wicked excited to be growing a huge supply of these radishes.

I got my seed from Johnny's seeds (radishes) .  

I got the recipe from here




Tomorrow is grocery day, and they better have daikon.  



Craig is so right. After years of eating kimchi from bags and jars, my belle suggested making my own. Her stepdad makes it because he got a knack for Asian cooking while in Viet Nam. Now neither of us would dream of buying it premade.

I found this very recipe when I searched, and I think it's got the traditional bok choi kimchi beat handily. It can be tricky to find the greens included with the roots, because they yellow and deliquesce fast. It's even trickier to find them in good condition. So to get good greens like you see in the original post--you'll never see the likes of those in a store or even farmer's market-- you'll have to grow them. And the greens are a delightful complement to the roots (which I slice into discs with a mandoline): crunchy and densely fibrous, a toothsome delight.

This has got me fired up to go make some ferments right now. Burdock root, cabbage and nettles I think, since I have some of the latter slowly wilting in a bag from a couple days ago.
 
pollinator
Posts: 247
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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Daikon has been a hero in my garden.  I've have very hard, compact, rocky, rain-depleted soil. Three spring ago, I threw a small packet of daikon out into what is now a willow / medicinal herb / perennial flower bed.  At the time, the soil was still so poor I felt I had to apologize to any plant I tried to grow there.  The daikon went crazy, reseeded, grew like a weed all last summer, and has reseeded itself again this spring. I have not had any issues with smell. In fact, I have pretty much no evidence that the roots were ever there.  Perhaps I am not growing them on large enough scale to create a smell?  I'm also not digging around to find them, so... But, wow, what a difference.  This week I went out to tuck in a few new plants.  I'm no longer apologizing to them.  Look at the beautiful, rich, soft earth I am planting you into! Look at these worms!  Grow!  Thrive!  Now, there has been some help from generous applications of compost, comfrey mulching, lupines, etc, but I give a lot of credit to the friability of the soil to daikon.

I have lactofermented the roots.  That works great.  I have lactofermented the seed pods.  That does not work great. Yuck.  Better eaten raw with a bit of dip.  
 
Todd Parr
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I forgot to mention that, but mine re-seed readily as well.  As you mentioned, the worms LOVE them.
 
pollinator
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The seed pods are one of my favorite foods, I bet you could make a great mustard with them.

I also have stuffed a duck with a daikon root along with onions, garlic, chiles, a lime, lime leaves and lemongrass and it was awesome. I have done this without the daikon and it was good but the root steamed inside the bird and just emanated its zestiness throughout and helped keep it moist. It got lots of compliments for this from the guests.
 
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They wont make big roots if you plant in spring, usually. They are a day-length-sensitive crop that responds to lengthening days by using whatever root they have as fuel to send up a flowering stalk and make seed. If you want roots you have to plant later in the summer or fall.
 
Jamie Chevalier
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You can buy forage radish for cheaper than named daikon varieties. It won't be as perfect as far as getting a big juicy root from each plant, but you will get way more seeds for the same amount of money, so it is better for larger plantings and opening up the soil. Bountiful Gardens carries both a named-variety daikon (350 seeds) and a generic forage radish for cover cropping and soil building (2500 seeds)---as well as an oilseed radish for pressing your own non-GMO vegetable oil. (Canola is a radish relative, thoroughly contaminated by GMO pollen. Oilseed radish is not.) All have deep roots.

I would think twice about ordering radishes from Johnny's because while they are high-quality, most of what they have is hybrids.....you won't be able to save seeds from those. Bountiful Gardens is cheaper, with no hybrids or GMOs, and non-profit.
 
Lab Ant
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i threw down seeds in May and June in Montana . i have a lot of berms and they took best there. between diakon and turnip i could have probably survived the winter if i just added a little meat if i had to. the roots were massive some a lil over two foot. i would never homestead without diakon. if its not building soil its feeding me . if its not feeding me its feeding animals. it does all of this without irrigation or much work. plus it yielded more seed than i planted. if there is a downside to this plant i have yet to see it . another thing it did was draw most of Paul's honey bees to my plot . i seen them there more than anywhere else!
 
gardener
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I have, for the first time, purchased daikon radish seed. I plan to sow them in late summer. They will grow in the late summer and fall, then they will winter kill (in my zone 7). The roots will help break up my compacted, clay soil, pull nutrients from lower soil levels and add organic materials to the soil.

I have wondered about the smell as they are decomposing. I have noticed smells before when turnips left in the ground to decomposed were quite noticable aromas.

The daikon radish is also a common ingredient in lots of the recipes that came with my
Perfect Pickler fermenting kit. I'd love to have fresh radishes to try these recipes.

As far as the smell, I have a plan to try. I have, in the past, purchased EM-1 Microbial Inoculant from Teraganix.

According to their website, their...
"Bioremediation Bacteria Eliminates Foul Odors In The Home (Pets, Smoke, Garbage, Drains, Paint, etc.)".

I'd think it would work for eliminating the stench of rotting radishes, right? Just spray it on the soil in the Spring as the soil is warming, when the smell would just be getting ripe. It would also give your soil a boost of beneficial microbes. It's worth a shot.

It is, in my opinion, expensive to buy. Why not try your hand at making your own? That would also be even more beneficial as it would include you own indigenous (locally occuring) microbes. Here are a few sites to get you started in making your own:

Hawaii Healing Tree

Permaculture Research Institute
 
Posts: 57
Location: Mid-Missouri
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If you plant Ground Hog or Daikon radish in late summer and let it winter kill - to open up clay soil. Would you have any trouble planting a vegetable garden into that plot in early spring? tillability, nutrient lock, other issues?

In Missouri, zone 6A.
 
Todd Parr
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Bryan de Valdivia wrote:If you plant Ground Hog or Daikon radish in late summer and let it winter kill - to open up clay soil. Would you have any trouble planting a vegetable garden into that plot in early spring? tillability, nutrient lock, other issues?

In Missouri, zone 6A.



That is how I do it.  Last year I planted some late so they didn't have much time to grow.  This is a plot that I have never planted, and as I said, I have very heavy clay soil.  I put down black rubber roofing material to kill the quack grass and after several months, removed it and planted groundhog radish, vetch, a couple others.  The radish was in a month or so before it winter killed.  

radish.jpeg
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radish_2.jpeg
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Karen Donnachaidh
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As far as "tillability, nutrient lock", from reading I have done:

The daikon/groundhog "tillage" radishes work best in a no-till situation, as an alternative to mechanical tilling. I read that some people still do till afterwards, but what that is doing is closing the channels that the radishes have so nicely opened up. You'll still have the added organic material in the soil, but the cash crop planted following the radishes won't have the open channels to send  deep roots down easily. It sort of defeats the purpose.

In my opinion, I think planting them all over my garden wouldn't be the best idea. I'm putting them only in the permanent planting beds only. I don't think I want them in the paths.

The radishes planted in the late summer/early fall are accumulating and storing nutrients (lots of N) that could otherwise be leached from the soil during the winter. These nutrients will be available to your next crop. There is a "best by" window of opportunity there, don't wait overly long before you take advantage of that nutrient storehouse in the Spring or else it will be depleting too. To remedy this, planting an overwintering cover crop choice with your radishes is a good idea. When these plants start to grow again in the Spring, they will be using and storing the N made available by the decomposing radishes.

This informative PDF is from the American Society of Agronomy. (I hope it will attach. I've not tried to attach a PDF before.)
Filename: nrcs142p2_022940.pdf
Description: Radishes: A New Cover Crop Option
File size: 216 Kbytes
 
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Location: Alberta, zone 3
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I have a few questions:

Daikon vs tillage radish is only about being edible/tasty but work the soil the same way?

When does the stink occur? We are rural but have some neighbours.

In zone 3 I heard to plant after July 1 for good root crop. True?


Thanks!
 
Todd Parr
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Simone Gar wrote:I have a few questions:

Daikon vs tillage radish is only about being edible/tasty but work the soil the same way?

When does the stink occur? We are rural but have some neighbours.

In zone 3 I heard to plant after July 1 for good root crop. True?


Thanks!



I don't know how much difference there is in the taste.  I think the groundhog/tillage radishes taste great.

They stink in the spring when everything thaws and they rot.  How bad they smell depends largely on the number of them you have, but the smell isn't horrible and doesn't carry a long way.  No comparison at all to something like comfrey tea.  That stuff will gag a vulture.

I have planted anywhere from July thru Sept.  If you plant them too soon, some will go to seed, but that is fine with me.  They will come up in the spring and you can let them grow or pull them.
 
Simone Gar
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Thanks Todd!
I might seed a few early to have some seeds again but for the bulk I want the root growth.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Raphanus sativus, also know as forage radish, daikon radish, Japanese radish, groundhog radish, nitro radish and probably other names I am unfamiliar with, is used to loosen up hard compacted soils and break through hardpan. This tilling action earned them the name "tillage radishes". The radish can grow up to 20" long and their taproots can grow 6' or more.

The radish does it's rapid growing in the fall, so planting early (I agree with your after July 1 date), even sowing it into an existing crop to gain maximum root growth is recommended. The root will die over the winter and when the soil warms in the spring is when you may notice a smell.

Brassica cover crops should not be followed by other plants in the brassica (wiki) family.

The realagriculture website has a series of videos that you may find useful.
 
Todd Parr
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Simone Gar wrote:Thanks Todd!
I might seed a few early to have some seeds again but for the bulk I want the root growth.



That's exactly what I do.  I let some grow because the pollinators like the flowers, and also so I can save seeds.  You'll get a lot of seeds from a few plants.  Most of them I do as you said, use them to break up my clay and get organic matter into the soil.  This year I'm also putting biochar into the holes left after they rot to get the char down into the soil without having to dig it in.  The pictures I posted are of holes left after they rotted away.  Years I got them in earlier, they left holes as big as my wrist and down more than 18".
 
Simone Gar
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Todd Parr wrote:

Simone Gar wrote:Thanks Todd!
I might seed a few early to have some seeds again but for the bulk I want the root growth.



That's exactly what I do.  I let some grow because the pollinators like the flowers, and also so I can save seeds.  You'll get a lot of seeds from a few plants.  Most of them I do as you said, use them to break up my clay and get organic matter into the soil.  This year I'm also putting biochar into the holes left after they rot to get the char down into the soil without having to dig it in.  The pictures I posted are of holes left after they rotted away.  Years I got them in earlier, they left holes as big as my wrist and down more than 18".



That's great to hear. My gardens (we just bought the farm) seem great. But I have a field (1 acre) they kept tilled and the hard pan is not very deep and hard as rock. That's why I was asking about tillage radish as it is cheaper and easily available around here in bigger quantities. I sure hope it grows easily, as I want to broadcast it with a spreader on our lawn tractor. Early July we usually get some rain storms I hope I can time my seeding accordingly.
 
Sean Pratt
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Simone Gar wrote:I have a few questions:

Daikon vs tillage radish is only about being edible/tasty but work the soil the same way?

When does the stink occur? We are rural but have some neighbours.

In zone 3 I heard to plant after July 1 for good root crop. True?


Thanks!



in Montana ( zone 4 i believe ) i planted in late may to late June. others i planted before this date hardly got a yield and other peoples as well. the ones in may and June did great and yielded huge roots. so i am going to guess that July first would be a safe bet. you can always sow a small test plot before and then do some in July and then some later to see what works on your land. another thing i noticed was even though its considered a no till crop it did much better on areas that were disturbed by making large berms. i even tried only sowing in the middle of very heavy rain storms to wash the seed into the ground. good luck im interested to see how they do in a zone 3 setting.
 
Simone Gar
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Sean Pratt wrote:
in Montana ( zone 4 i believe ) i planted in late may to late June. others i planted before this date hardly got a yield and other peoples as well. the ones in may and June did great and yielded huge roots. so i am going to guess that July first would be a safe bet. you can always sow a small test plot before and then do some in July and then some later to see what works on your land. another thing i noticed was even though its considered a no till crop it did much better on areas that were disturbed by making large berms. i even tried only sowing in the middle of very heavy rain storms to wash the seed into the ground. good luck im interested to see how they do in a zone 3 setting.



I think I will sow some of my organic daikon seeds before and after in the garden then. I like to eat the seed pots and for seed saving too. Win-win. I'll get a bag of tillage radish and see my 1 acre after July 1. I grew up in Europe and white radish is quite common to eat in summer. Not sure which one that would be and how it relates to daikon so I might as well try daikon roots too. I loved the white radish! They slice it very thinly but not all the way through so it stays in one piece. They salt it and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then eat it as a side like pickles. It's delish!
 
Sean Pratt
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Simone Gar wrote:

Sean Pratt wrote:
in Montana ( zone 4 i believe ) i planted in late may to late June. others i planted before this date hardly got a yield and other peoples as well. the ones in may and June did great and yielded huge roots. so i am going to guess that July first would be a safe bet. you can always sow a small test plot before and then do some in July and then some later to see what works on your land. another thing i noticed was even though its considered a no till crop it did much better on areas that were disturbed by making large berms. i even tried only sowing in the middle of very heavy rain storms to wash the seed into the ground. good luck im interested to see how they do in a zone 3 setting.



I think I will sow some of my organic daikon seeds before and after in the garden then. I like to eat the seed pots and for seed saving too. Win-win. I'll get a bag of tillage radish and see my 1 acre after July 1. I grew up in Europe and white radish is quite common to eat in summer. Not sure which one that would be and how it relates to daikon so I might as well try daikon roots too. I loved the white radish! They slice it very thinly but not all the way through so it stays in one piece. They salt it and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then eat it as a side like pickles. It's delish!



sounds like a good idea to me Simone. the seed pods are one of my favorites as well. I used every part of the plant over the summer in stir fries and still had plenty to leave for the animals and soil improvement. i like the idea of some early seed pods. i think i might take a page out of your book next year and sow a bit early just for seed pods and greens.
 
Simone Gar
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Ok, one more question: Is it a good idea to interseed perennial beds (flowers, shrubs etc.) with daikon or tillage radish or would that disturb them?
 
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