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tillage radishes

I must forewarn you: My knowledge of radishes is vast. Wide. Deep. Unending. 

And by that I mean that I know that (1) I don't like the taste of radishes and (2) my dad loves to eat the little red ones sliced up and layered on a piece of white buttered bread. 

So there you have it: my wealth of information on radishes . . . in one sentence. 

Lest your awareness of radishes be as minimal as mine, here's one: Radishes can do more than lay around around buttered bread!

Because the soil in our neck of the woods isn't quite the same as the rich, black, loamy dirt of Iowa or Illinois, it needs some extra love. Plant rye -- to feed the cows -- and then turn around and later that year plant corn on it for silage -- to feed the cows (are you sensing a pattern?) -- and the soil can end up fairly compacted. 

One emerging option? Plant radishes. 

They grow well in the fall and die off by the winter. They have thick tap roots that reach over a foot in length, breaking up each layer of soil as they grow deeper and deeper into the ground. The soil is loosened, and the nutrients are released to prepare for the next round of crops. 

The cows don't mind munching on the leaves either. 

Come to think of it, I guess if your favorite food was a radish, you'd probably think you'd hit the jackpot with acres and acres of radishes ripe for the harvesting . . . and slicing . . . eating with a pint of beer.  

I've heard that's a thing. 

So if you're driving through the countryside in the fall, and you see a field full of short green heads of leaves and long white roots peeking up out of the ground, now you know: The radishes are helping break up the soil, releasing nitrogen back into the ground and filling up cow stomaches along the way. 

Which means you now know more about radishes than I do. 

I think we're done here. 

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