Radishes , the next big thing for food plots !

It’s gotta be about every 10 minutes we hear there’s a new plot seed that’s going to change the world. By now we know it’s mostly marketing and BS about the same old stuff. Not this time and I’ve proven it myself so read on and find out why you want to give radishes a chance in your plots…..

We think about radishes and the 1st thought is those little red things Dad used to grow in the garden and Mom would throw in the salad. Those radishes are good for sure but that’s not the plant we’re talking about. THIS thing doesn’t look like anything you’ve planted before. The 1st time I planted a seed mix that had radishes in it I didn’t even give it a 2nd thought. I had no idea what they were and really didn’t care until they started growing and turned into something. They turned into the best plant in the plot and I didn’t even know what it was. It’s one of those things where you go check the progress of your plot one day and see these things in there and say to yourself “what the hell is that? Did I plant that?”. I plant it every year now and so should you.

radish (2)

1st a little history on where this all came from. I’m not going to get into the scientific stuff I’ve read because it’s kinda boring but I’ll tell ya this : Radishes are real good for the soil and that’s how this whole thing came about. Evidently farmers have been planting Daikon Radishes , or some variety , for years as a “cover crop”. A farmer might harvest a crop for the year and then go back to that field and plant radishes as a cover crop to keep the weeds down until next Spring and to help the soil while doing so. The root of these plants will go 30″ + into the soil and draw nutrients etc. to the surface that wouldn’t happen naturally. The radish then dies/composts into the soil and the field is better than it was before. Somewhere along the line just a few years ago a farmer in upstate NY realized the deer were hammering these radishes when the weather got cold. This is what started the whole radish/food plot craze and believe me it’s here to stay.


My 1st experience with radishes was 3 years ago I think. I didn’t pay much attention until late in the season when I noticed these things were getting destroyed. I didn’t even know what the plant was. This past year I had a 1 acre plot I planted in the Spring with Whitetail Institute Power Plant. I worked my tail off on that little plot and was sure this was going to be a winner. It was a complete 100% failure. My experiences with Whitetail Institute go back at least 10 years and my success with their products is checkered to say the least. I was outright pissed off about this plot not growing. So what do I do? Like any fool I run right back to the Whitetail Institute and buy their latest and greatest which they call Winter Peas. It’s a late season plant and I had plenty of time to prep the soil and grow this stuff. So away I go and hope for the best. Well guess what? I didn’t grow a single pea plant in that acre which I’ve successfully grown other plants for years. Something was growing though and I couldn’t tell what it was at 1st. A few weeks later it was obvious I had radishes and fortunately a lot of them. I checked the info on the Winter Pea seed and it claimed something like “96% peas” in this bag with a little oats and a couple radishes. Well I can tell you with certainty they have no idea what was in that bag because I grew a 1 acre plot that was wall to wall radishes and the deer destroyed them. Right next to this plot is a 2+ acre plot of Frigid Forage Big – N – Beasty (turnips) which is my favorite late season plant. I mean these plots are literally next to each other. My friends and I killed 3 bucks this year in the Radishes and not one in the turnip plot. By the way , Big-N-Beasty has some radishes in it also. One afternoon I sat in my stand and counted 16 deer (at the same time) within 75 yards of me all in the radishes and not one in the turnips. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop planting those turnips , I’m planting them forever because I’ve had so much success with them. It does pay off to have some variety especially when a plant like radishes can produce so much tonnage in food.


I did a little research I want to share about just how much food these plants can produce. When I plant late season plots I want to get as much out of them as possible obviously, but not just for hunting season. I wrote just the other day about the benefits of having a lot of food for the deer when the season ends which will keep them around and alive. A 1 acre plot of radishes can produce 7000 lbs. of food for the deer. The “top” (the green stuff that grows pretty high) is as attractive as the root. When you look at the pictures I posted it looks like what you and I might refer to as the “fruit” but it’s the root. That root grows deep and there’s plenty of it under the ground the deer will dig up. A turnip plot will produce similar tonnage and offer some variety the deer will appreciate I’m sure. Over the years , especially this Fall , I’ve watched deer pounding these plots all season long and weeks later you can hardly tell they’ve been there. THAT’S how much food is in these plots. Between my radish plot and the turnips next to it I don’t think there are enough deer on my land to eat it all. I’m dead serious , there’s that much food.

In case you’re interested , I plant my radishes and turnips at the same time up here which would be the last week in July – Aug. 1. The turnips grow faster so if you have to make a choice about what goes in the ground 1st plant the radishes 1st. The Big-N-Beasty turnips grow faster than anything you will ever plant so take advantage of that if time is a concern. They’re both tiny seeds so be prepared to spend some time because you will be “hand cranking” the seeds on your plots. In the future I’m going to buy radish seeds and not rely on a mixed seed that has radishes in it. You can find seeds in several places now so compare and be sure to do some research , read reviews before you spend your money. I haven’t made a choice yet but I’m leaning towards the radish seeds that Pennington Seeds offers.

There ya have it , the latest and not so greatest on my plot experiences. If you have some room on your land I would strongly recommend you give radishes a chance. If you can grow them you won’t regret it. If you don’t have land then you better get ahold of me because I DO have land and some great hunting land for sale right here in New York. Thanks for stopping by , if you’ve read this far you’re to be commended ! Comments , questions , criticism and everything else is always welcome so feel free to let it fly. If you found this worthwhile please share it with your buddies , if it wasn’t worthwhile share it anyway and annoy your friends !                     mj


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