Radishes are part of the brassicas family along with turnips, canola and rapeseed. It’s a very popular food-plot choice throughout most of the country and deer gravitate to it where it’s available. This food-plot seed variety is a very good option for most deer hunters.
Like most brassicas, radishes are consumed in two stages — first the leaves and then the root. They’ll begin targeting this species as early as germination. But in the fall, cooler temperatures will increase the glucose levels in the leaves and deer will begin hitting them even harder. Once the leaves have been browsed all the way down, deer oftentimes eat the root — especially in late winter when food sources are limited.
While some crown the radish as king of the brassicas tribe, it’s best to plant these in a blend with other members of the brassicas family. This will add diversity to your food plot.
Begin by testing the soil. Take samples throughout the plot to get an average, accurate reading. Then spray for weeds and allow adequate time for the unwanted vegetation to die off. Apply fertilizer and lime as needed.
Now it’s time to break ground. Thoroughly disk the food plot and produce a nice, firm seedbed. If broadcasting, plant at a rate of about 10 to 11 pounds per acre. If drilling, plant at a rate of about 8 to 9 pounds per acre. Finish by driving the seeds down into the soil between ¼- and ½-inch. You can do this by dragging, disking or simply driving over the planted area with vehicle tires.
Where to Plant
Radishes can be planted throughout most of the country. However, deer seem to target them better in northern climates, and especially in hill country where agricultural grain crops are less common. Luckily, they’re also drought-resistant, which leads to less stress if planting these during July and August.
Most radish varieties are exceptionally adept at breaking through dense soil. So, they should grow well under most soil conditions, even when planted in areas with minimal top soil and hardy clay-like dirt is present. The tap root can sometimes exceed 25 inches under ideal conditions. On the contrary, overly wet soils are not good for this plant species and will inhibit growth.
When to Plant
Radishes are fast-growing. In most states, they should be planted between late July and early September. Planting within this window will allow plenty of time for the plants to reach maturity.