Deep Drilling Radishes

Daikon Radish

Don’t plant daikon radishes where you want hard compacted soil to stay hard and compacted – e.g., roads and paths. These are also sold under various names like Tiller Radishes. They are very good at drilling their long tap roots down through packed soil and breaking up the hard pan.

The pigs love to eat the tops during the warmer months but avoid the roots, just like with broccoli, turnips and such. The result is as we move the animals through pastures they browse the foliage but leave the roots to put up new leaves during the resting period of the rotation.

Come fall the forages become scarce and the roots sweeten. At this point the pigs are less picky and more willing to eat the base of the plant making it a good late fall and winter food source.

The daikon radish in the photo is a small one planted late in the season – August. They often grow to have the swollen tuber part of the root be a foot long and even 16″. When they come out of the soil, either by decaying in place or through animals eating them, they leave a hole that allows water to penetrate. This makes them a very good thing to plant in places of compacted soil that you want loosened up.

Outdoors: 34°F/3°F Overcast, Freezing Rain
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/55°F

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About Walter Jeffries

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3 Responses to Deep Drilling Radishes

  1. aminthepm says:

    Are they perennials ?

    • Technically they’re annuals, or perhaps biannuals would be a better word. But, in our early deep snow climate I see brassica family plants with roots that survive the summer and come up again the next year. I’ve identified some that have done this for three successive years so they are apparently able to be perennial. See this.

  2. Al says:

    Daikon Radishes. Have you eaten them? I tried one….! So sweet, juicy and mild in flavor. One of my favorite snacks while working in my little green house.
    I didn’t know if they were edible for people and I kept watching them grow (tried them in the green house ~ just for fun) ….I asked around and nobody knew if we could eat them ~ nobody had tried them ~ farmers here plant them for soil improvements and animals. They are really good. I pull one up when it’s about 2″ across the top and 8-9″ long – the biggest radish I ever ate (not all at once) but small for these kind. Definitely worth planting in MY garden and not just the deer plot. :)

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