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Author Topic: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions  (Read 2589 times)

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Offline marquis de sod

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radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« on: Thu March 05, 2015, 07:04:31 PM »
I have attended a couple row crop conferences here in Corn belt Illinois on cover crops this winter just out of personal interest and had a bit of an epiphany today I think. I wanted to throw an idea out to the forum for comment and to glean your experiences.
Row crop farmers are using precision planted cover crops like forage radishes to essentially "subsoil" and scavenge nutrients right in the row they will plant into. The radishes grow in the fall, winterkill and the "tuber" rots a hole deep into the soil and leaves a rich feeding site for the subsequent crop.
So,... the idea...., could one add a few radish seeds to  a lawn mix when seeding into tough soils? I wouldn't want to use forage radishes, they get huge but there are radishes that have 30 day maturity and are more vertically rooted than globe-type table radishes. Maybe a "radish" of 3 inches long and about 3/4" diameter like a white icicle. If you put @ 6-8 seeds per square foot your cost would be about $40 per acre for seed.
Some advantages might be some quick cover and shade for the soil, opening up tight soil on constuction sights, a green manure for the yard and a kickstart for biological nutrient cycling in the soil.
Disadvantages could be overcompetion for the new grass, terminating the radish crop, and the appearance of a "weedy" new lawn.
I was thinking of this approach as a possibility especially in poorly prepped sites. And obviously some client education would be in order. I think I will do some small test plots this spring and I have  a client from last year with some horrible soil that may be a good guinea pig when we redo some of his site.
What are your thoughts about any of this? I would appreciate any and all input.
If you are interested in the covercropping you should google Joel Gruver at WIU on you tube. Fascinating.
thanks,
Jeff Moore
Jeff Moore,
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le marquis de sod
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Offline Jumpstart

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Re: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« Reply #1 on: Thu March 05, 2015, 09:26:25 PM »
I know this may be not quite what your looking for but."....
A neighbour had a vegetable garden in his backyard and around the perimeter his wife planted flowers . The strange fact that he pointed out was that everything growing next to the flowers ,within a foot or two , was larger than the rest of the row further away .
We couldn't explain it but it seemed the flowers ,which received the same care as the garden somehow gave the proximate veggies a boost !!!

So I can't discount your theory , experience with the radishes .
One boosts the other in a level I don't understand .
Should have stayed in school longer , ha .

Offline marquis de sod

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Re: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« Reply #2 on: Fri March 06, 2015, 05:53:27 PM »
Well, I'll come back and answer my own question. I talked to my seed supplier today that is quite up on the cover crop use of radishes and he told me that they will not actually break through any hard soil but will only "subsoil" into ground that has some structure to it already.
However, ryegrass of any sort has been proven to be one of the best plants to break up hardpan and send roots deep , with fescue following behind it, so... there you have it. No miracles to be had here.
Jeff
Jeff Moore,
The Lawn Moores, LLC
le marquis de sod
HY-750-HE

Offline Turboguy

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Re: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« Reply #3 on: Sat March 07, 2015, 08:21:18 AM »
Well, it was an interesting concept anyway.  I can see it now, when a potential customer asks what kind of seed I would be using my answer would be a mix of blue grass, fescue, rye and radishes.   I am sure that would create a reaction.  Perhaps we can plant alfalfa lawns.  They can send roots down 6 to 10 feet.  I guess the best thing is just to suggest they get their lawn aerated every so often. 

As to the flowers around the garden, it does make sense that some plants can add things to the soil that might be beneficial.  I haven't had a garden in over a decade but used to do a border of marigolds around the gardens when I did have one.  It did the same thing as a fence.   Rabbits hate the smell of marigolds and won't pass through them.  I didn't notice any increase in the growth of the vegies planted near them but that could have just been the variety of flower or perhaps I just didn't notice.  I picked that tip up ages ago when I used to subscribe to some organic gardening magazines.  The food from a garden tastes so much better than what you buy in a store but does involve a lot of work.  I sort of miss doing that.  Maybe one of these days I will get back to it.
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Offline easygrass

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Re: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« Reply #4 on: Mon April 06, 2015, 10:19:59 AM »











using this Ray around my garden.


As to the flowers around the garden, it does make sense that some plants can add things to the soil that might be beneficial.  I haven't had a garden in over a decade but used to do a border of marigolds around the gardens when I did have one.  It did the same thing as a fence.   Rabbits hate the smell of marigolds and won't pass through them.  I didn't notice any increase in the growth of the vegies planted near them but that could have just been the variety of flower or perhaps I just didn't notice.  I picked that tip up ages ago when I used to subscribe to some organic gardening magazines.  The food from a garden tastes so much better than what you buy in a store but does involve a lot of work.  I sort of miss doing that.  Maybe one of these days I will get back to it.

http://www.extension.org/pages/18572/buckwheat-for-cover-cropping-in-organic-farming#.VSKVKS5QBSo
" awareness of the environment through a physical sensation "

Offline Turboguy

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Re: radish nurse crop in tough soil conditions
« Reply #5 on: Mon April 06, 2015, 10:32:57 AM »
Pretty cool Warren, and the bonus is you could make some pancakes. 
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