Tillage Radishes on Welsh Settlement

Welsh Settlement 2014 (29)The owner of the Welsh Settlement conservation easement is switching to no-till. As part of that process he’s planted tillage radishes in some of the fields. The root of the radish pushes down into the soil, helping to loosen it up.

While it’s growing, the radish draws in nutrients like Nitrogen and Phosphorus.  The radish root is generally killed off and stops growing after several days of very cold weather.  It take more than a single night’s frost.Welsh Settlement 2014 (28)

When the radish decays it adds nutrients back to the soil.The voids, or empty space, left by the root becomes space to help water move through the soil, as well as for air to circulate.

The landowner told us the radishes are edible. He said they were a little “peppy” before the first frost, but since then have sweetened up a bit.  We took his word for it.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service has a fact sheet out on uses radishes as a cover crop.  You can check it out for more information on both no-till farming and radishes.