You know those instances when you've never heard of something until you read about it, and then it enters your life through another venue a short time later? Sometimes it will even show up with regularity after that and you wonder how in the world you've gotten to be 55 years old before hearing about it for the first time.
There's probably a name for this, and it's not ignorance either. Life's experiences come to us at different times and I'm always grateful for new ones. If we all knew everything about everything, life would be very boring indeed.
I'd heard of Daikon radishes briefly in recent years, but they didn't spark enough interest for me to investigate just what they were exactly. Then I saw an article online last fall about using them as a cover crop.
Not two weeks after I read that article, Daikon radishes would appear before my eyes, right across the road from my house.
|October 8, 2012|
I had noticed something had been planted in the field this past fall, after the wheat was long gone, but I really never gave it another thought. A casual conversation with my next-door neighbor, who works for a seed company, informed me that the green growth was Daikon radishes.
|Neighbor Witt decided to give them a try - dirt and all. :-)|
Daikon radishes (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus) are growing in popularity in agriculture and in the home garden. Yes, they're certainly edible, but these radishes aren't being grown for eating.
As a cover crop, they have many advantages:
|Neighbor Nyle shows a young Daikon in|
October. They get a LOT larger.
- They grow deep roots and that helps with soil compaction.
- They're allelopathic, which means they give off a biochemical (glycosinolate compounds) that inhibits weed growth.
- The top growth helps reduce soil erosion.
- They naturally take up nitrogen and after dying during the winter, they release it back into the soil for use by the subsequent crop.
I can see that the radishes are already dying and decomposing. By spring, I would imagine the field will be a big mass of radish mush, just as planned.
|Daikon radishes - January 13, 2013|
I may try growing Daikons next year as a cover crop in my own vegetable garden.