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Dutch August 2, 2016 01:29 AM

Radishes An Old Idea That Is New Again
Radishes as a cover crop. Check it out.

imp August 2, 2016 02:15 AM

Interesting article, especially given your weed free garden area.

Nematode August 2, 2016 03:21 AM

Thanks Dutch, an interesting article.

bower August 2, 2016 09:41 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Really interesting article, Dutch. :yes: I'm trying to learn more about cover crops and rotations, so it made a great breakfast read.
And I love that it ended with a good laugh. :lol:

Dutch August 2, 2016 02:08 PM

4 Attachment(s)
The first picture is of the two weeds I consider helpers. Both crowd out other weeds.
Attachment 64836

The second picture is of some of the radish type plant, hanging out in Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry patch and fixin to go to seed.
Attachment 64837

The third picture is of the radish type plant root system, showing the hair root mass at the top with what appears to me may be Arbuscular Mycorrhiza attached and the tap root below which drills down into my dolomite clay.
Attachment 64838

The forth picture shows their root length.
Attachment 64858


NewWestGardener August 2, 2016 04:43 PM

Weed is a relative term. The weeds in Dutch's picture, I believe are wild Amaranths, we used to pick them from the fields for eating, that is before they have buds or flowers. After cooking, it is soft with no particular taste. Even the red roots are edible. We fed our pigs the older plants, as long as they are not too fibrous, also cooked.

Dutch August 2, 2016 06:05 PM


Originally Posted by NewWestGardener (Post 583733)
Weed is a relative term. The weeds in Dutch's picture, I believe are wild Amaranths, we used to pick them from the fields for eating, that is before they have buds or flowers. After cooking, it is soft with no particular taste. Even the red roots are edible. We fed our pigs the older plants, as long as they are not too fibrous, also cooked.

Thank you NewWestGardener.:)
Your input is greatly appreciated.:yes:

MissS August 3, 2016 08:32 PM

Your short succulent weed is Purslane. It is an annual weed. This one is also edible. It is put in salads.

Dutch August 4, 2016 12:06 AM


Originally Posted by MissS (Post 584102)
Your short succulent weed is Purslane. It is an annual weed. This one is also edible. It is put in salads.

Thank you Patti.
It does indeed appear to be Portulaca Oleracea which is commonly called Purslane.:)
Your input is greatly appreciated.:yes:

AlittleSalt August 4, 2016 12:50 AM

This one is kind of long and hopefully it gives room for thought.

I saved purslane in two pots and one grown in-ground in a raised bed when I started solarizing our main garden. It was growing in the main garden as a weed, but after pulling it up - I noticed that it is a spreading weed with a central root base. In the area they were growing in - there were hardly any other weeds growing. This started a thought from things I learned long ago - along with some new ideas I have. I'll explain:

A weed is defined as an unwanted plant. So any plant could be called a weed if you don't want it growing in a certain place. (Something I already knew.)

Our main garden is 45' x 45', so we plant in rows. In-between the rows, there are weeds growing and it's a lot of work keeping them weeded out. My idea is to plant purslane in-between the rows and letting them spread out to control unwanted weeds. Purslane also has beautiful little flowers on it. As far as eating it - I've read that some are okay to eat and others are not. I wouldn't be growing them to eat though.

In this way of looking at purslane - they would no longer be a weed. They would be a summertime cover crop that adds both purpose and beauty to the garden, and they reseed like weeds.

It's just a thought.

Dutch August 4, 2016 11:40 AM

Thank you Imp, Nematode, and Bower for your input. Stating you read the radish article and found it interesting has helped build this thread.
Thank you all!

Robert thank you for posting your observations. I greatly appreciate you sharing your thoughts on using Purslane in your garden as a ground cover. Thanks again Robert.

I plan on pickling some of the longer stems. The reddish stems have a mild favor, similar to yellow wax beans, so I would think a dilly bean recipe would work well. I don’t eat the leaves because I have had problems with kidney stone and the leaves contain Oxalate which may contribute to kidney stones.

Some interesting thing about Purslane below;

"Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Studies have found that Purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains vitamins, mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin B, carotenoids, and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron."
“Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies."

"Chemical constituents include noradrenaline, calcium salts, dopamine, L-DOPA, malic acid, citric acid, glutamic acid, asparagic acid, nicotinic acid, alanine, glucose, fructose, and sucrose."
"Betacyanins isolated from Portulaca oleracea improved cognition deficits in aged mice. A subclass of homoisoflavonoids from the plant showed in vitro cytotoxic activities towards four human cancer cell lines."


Nematode August 4, 2016 11:52 AM

I have a semi organic farmer friend who I sent the radish article to.
His response was he did several acres in it last winter, and was worried it would not winter kill, which it finally did in march.
Best cover crop ever was his final comment.

Cole_Robbie August 4, 2016 11:02 PM

Great article.

A cover crop of Groundhop Radish was one of the few ideas of mine that my family actually implemented in their gardens. They are beautiful after the first few frosts, emerald green when everything else is brown. It takes extended sub-freezing weather to kill them.

Morgan County sells the seed. They are always very competitive on price.

Starlight August 5, 2016 12:22 PM

Really enjoyed the article. Never thought about using it as a cover crop, but I do know radish leaves make a good salad. A little bit on the peppery side, but still good. You could have your cover crop and fresh salad too. : )

nhardy August 9, 2016 02:11 AM

Here is a story on ground cover here too.

Why landscapers are planting crops on the Arch grounds


• Radishes are rotting on the Gateway Arch grounds.

Crews planted about 400,000 last fall. By the end of October, tufts of bright green had sprouted in unruly rows all over the national park.

They’ve now largely decomposed. But they did what they were supposed to: They sent their thick tap roots almost two feet deep. They froze this winter and died. And they left hundreds of thousands of long, skinny holes in the ground, softening soil that has been compacting for decades.

“It actually feels almost like you’re walking through a forest,” said Arch grounds contractor and arborist James Sotillo, one of the brains behind the plan. “That’s the beauty of these radishes. As they grow, they’re releasing all of these incredible metabolites into the soils".

Much attention has been paid to the biggest components of the $380 million CityArchRiver renovation. The $172 million downtown-facing, glass-and-steel museum. The lid that spans the highway, reconnecting downtown to the park. The nearly 900 London plane trees — some being planted now — to replace the beetle-threatened ash trees.

But designers are also fretting the most unseen of details — the very ground on which all of this grows.

The land under the Arch isn’t particularly fertile. It is largely low-quality clay fill, dumped over the remnants of buildings demolished and left. Officials at the National Park Service and CityArchRiver foundation have said that the old ash trees weren’t going to last much longer, even if the emerald ash borer never reached St. Louis — the soil simply wasn’t fertile enough to support big trees with long lives.

To remedy the problem, Arch grounds contractors have matched compost with the grasses they’re planting, so the right nutrients and organisms are in the ground. They’ve been brewing a special concoction — called a “liquid biological amendment” — and began spraying it every spring and fall before construction even started.

And they’ve spent millions of dollars to buy and truck in tons of new topsoil.

“When you think about ecology, you have to have good soil,” said Susan Trautman, executive director of the regional trails organization Great Rivers Greenway.

Great Rivers is paying for $85 million of the project’s landscaping and trails work, through a sales tax collected in St. Louis and St. Louis County. It has purchased about $5 million in specific soil blends — enough to cover 18 football fields in three feet of dirt — from the Sauget lawn and landscape company Oldcastle.

“Better soil means trees can live longer, develop deeper roots, so they can sustain over time,” Trautman continued.

Contractors planted the radishes in late September.

It was a first for an urban park, several of the Arch landscapers said.

The varietal, called “tillage” radishes, are long and white and burrow deeper into the soil than mechanical aerating, said Adrienne Heflich, a landscape architect with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the project’s lead designer.

Crews, worried about further compacting soil around the Arch reflecting ponds where most of the seeds were dropped, put golf-course turf tires on a small farm tractor.

“Obviously, we didn’t want giant farm equipment ripping around the Arch grounds,” said James Smith, another MVVA architect.

The radishes got off to a slow start, Smith said. But then the rain came and the weather cooled. “We got a lot out of them, a lot more than expected,” he said.

Now, shriveled brown tops still stick out here and there in the grass beside the Arch pathways. They have dug their holes and, as they decompose, are depositing nutrients closer to soil surfaces.

Sotillo called the effort an “unbelievable success.” He said he had convinced New York’s Central Park to do something similar, thanks to the work here. “They were completely sold,” he said.

It’s unclear exactly how much all of this has cost the project upfront. But, in the long term, the architects said, it should save the Park Service money.

Work on the Arch grounds is still scheduled to wrap up in the summer of 2017.

The landscapers figure they can get in one more radish-planting before then.

So expect another round of bright-green tufts and long white roots, coming next fall.

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