Winterkill

This website has been a long time coming… we’ve got a lot of data and experiences to share on winterkilled cover crops (especially radish) and no-till planting of early spring vegetables. Please check back often as we sort through it and make it presentable.

Most of the research that will be presented here has been conducted in Maryland, but we’re trying things in New England this year, too. In Maine, we planted forage radish on three different planting dates. The purpose of multiple planting dates was to get more information on the necessary fall planting date to achieve complete weed suppression in spring. In Maryland, this date is approximately the first week of September, and we imagine it is earlier in Maine.

Three planting dates of radish in Maine. Photo taken December 8.

Three planting dates of radish in Maine. Photo taken December 8.

Unlike Maryland, there was never any doubt that radish would winterkill in Maine. When the weather got cold, a phenomenon was quite apparent in the field: smaller radishes require colder temperatures to winterkill.

This is discussed by Steve Groff and his daughter Lauren, no-till farmers and proprietors of Tillage Radish, in two short videos:

The implications of this are different depending on where you are and what you’re trying to do. If you’re somewhere on the edge of winterkilling range for radishes, this provides all the more reason to plant early, grow big radishes, and make sure they get knocked out by the winter weather.

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