[Market-farming] Forage Radishes

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 10:39:56 EST 2012

This is our third year of growing forage radishes/daikons, and they stick
up above the ground in a variety of our soils.  As a value-added cover
crop, we protect a portion of them with row cover, then enjoy
eating/selling them all winter.  The covered ones bloom early spring, good
for our bees and other beneficials.  We sell the flowers, then the
seedpods.  Easy to collect seed for future use.  We let a portion of this
seed fall to the ground.  It came up randomly in the fall in our
spinach/mustard/lettuce beds, and the random, widely-spaced radishes are
doing a good job holding the row cover up off the greens on the coldest
nights.  These radish greens are also good in salad (small leaves) and as a
cooked green.  So for us, it's a value-added cover crop, fall, winter and

As for most effective breakup of hardpan, I talked with someone at
tillageradish.com, and they described research trialing 29? seed sources of
these radishes, to find the ones that made a single deep root, instead of
ones that tend to branch out when they hit resistance.

We've noticed that the edible daikon radish seed gave us straighter, deeper
roots, whereas the forage radish seed from one source tended to branch out
more, therefore wide instead of deep.

I've not bought from them before, am considering doing so this year, but
tillageradish says their seed is selected for going straight and deep.  So
I'll be comparing 2-3 seed sources this year, to see which ones
consistently go the deepest.

So if your goal is to break up hardpan as thoroughly and deeply as
possible, all daikon/forage radish seed is not equal.

Dr. Ray Weil at U. of Maryland has done much to research and demonstrate
this multi-use cover crop.  Go here for a summary of ongoing projects:
and see this link for info specific to the radishes.

Richard Moyer
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