Our 65% sand, 15% clay, and 20% silt,

Our world famous Rad’s Radish Farm is located in the vast northern lands of Florida (a mostly flat topographic region), where the temperatures reach high 60s in early March when radish seeds are first planted. Florida is famous for high humidity and rainfall (4-5 inches during the growing season), which also happen to be radish’s ideal growing conditions. Additionally, Rad’s Radish grows best in well-drained, rich in nutrients and loose soil with acidic pH of 6-7, another commonality with Floridian soil. The ideal soil for growing radish is sandy loam, approximately 65% sand, 15% clay, and 20% silt, which allows for better root development. Of course, farming in Florida has its downs, one of which is the prime cause of soil erosion -rainfall. Raindrops gather together and flow in streams throughout the farming land causing it to erode. But, on our farm, we don’t look away when challenges approach, so our way of preventing erosion is by building retaining walls. They will contain the soil and will also serve as a drainage regulator for any excess water buildup from the rain, further preventing erosion. Thankfully, radish is one of those crops that do not require too many extra nutrients besides the ones already found in the soil, in fact, an excess of nutrients, especially nitrogen (in forms of fertilizer and rich manure) can cause the plant to develop small roots, overly large tops, unpleasant taste – all signs of poor health. To manage runoff when we do apply low-nitrogen fertilizers, we have adapted to no-till farming, which is a way of growing crops without mechanically disturbing the soil. In no-till farming, we inject the fertilizer beneath the soil using a special tube. This method has proved to decrease overall nutrient runoff and is adapted on over 30% of US cropland. We, like every other farmer in the world face pests, like the Flea Beetle or Alticini, a small jumping insect that transmits viral and bacterial diseases. It is active in the spring when the radish seeds are first planted. The beetle lays eggs on the soil around the base of the plant, and days later, many larvae hatch and feed on the roots of the plant. They would remain in the soil for 7-9 days until the larvae are fully grown (Our Pest Paper). The most effective way to manage the Flea Beetle is using floating row covers, which can be placed on the seedling until it has grown enough to withstand the beetles on its own, or using a viable method like beneficial nematodes, which destroy the larvae of the beetle, therefore preventing the cycle from continuing. After the beetle population declines, so will the worm population, which means that you will not have to worry about finding a nematode on your dinner plate. Our technique is quite effective, and the only drawback could be that the beetles could eventually return or move to another crop which would be unfortunate. But, the chances of that are very low, so we choose to stick with our safe method which is affordable and is not a health hazard.On our farm, we are all about saving and preventing, so our method for irrigation is one that fits the standards of Rad’s Radish, and that is – drip irrigation. We place the tubes beneath the surface of the soil to prevent evaporation and runoff, but also to make sure the water goes straight to the root. Of course, to any method, there is always a drawback, and for us, it is high maintenance and the high cost of the said system. Additionally, this system is not for everyone and will require monitoring for best outcomes, but this method conserves water which might not seem like much but is a lot on a global scale.    One of the ways we ensure our farming is sustainable to the environment is by planting cover crops during the off-season times, which allows for the soil to recover and regain its nutrients. Cover crops also prevent erosion and keep weeds in check. This ensures that our soil is usable again and is not degraded because it had lost its nutrients. In the long run, we might not have anymore arable land left in the world, so by allowing the soil to recover, we add days and months to the running out timer. Another way that we use sustainable farming is by adopting agroforestry since our farm is so close to the woods. Agroforestry provides extra farming land and also provides shelter for the crops and keeps them away from the hot Floridian sun. Agroforestry is something that has been used for years and years and has proved that it is sustainable for the environment and prevents soil erosion, which can be a huge issue for us in Florida. For more information, please visit Rad’s Radish Farm in Tampa, Florida. 


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