Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
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Plant Tillage Radishes Now

Amanda Carrell holds a deep tillage radish, which is used as a conservation cover crop. The radishes help break up soil compaction and increases water infiltration. (NRCS photo)

Amanda Carrell holds a deep tillage radish, which is used as a conservation cover crop. The radishes help break up soil compaction and increases water infiltration. (NRCS photo)

September 1, 2016

Early September is a good time to plant a cover crop of tillage radishes – Daikon radishes "bred for improved taproot performance," according to Fedco, which sells organic seed of this crop. These radishes can loosen soil, improve water infiltration and percolation, scavenge nutrients and suppress weeds. They die back after several consecutive nights in the low 20s. Johnny's Selected Seeds suggests avoiding this cover crop in close rotation with cole crops, which have similar insect and disease pests. Eric Sideman, MOFGA's organic crop specialist, offers more ideas for fall cover crops and green manures in his fact sheet, "Using Green Manures."

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