Radishes – The Perfect “Prepper” Plant

Yesterday I harvested a big bunch of radishes.  My wife usually gets excited when I bring things in from the garden.  However, radishes are an exception.  You see, she is a radish hater.  I have found that she is not alone.  If I ever have anything left over from the garden I generally have a list of people that are ready to take it.  Not so with radishes.  Seems like the world is full of two types of people:  those that love radishes and those that don’t.

A very lovely bunch of radishes from the fall potager. Photo by my lovely wife

I am proud to say that I am a radish lover.  I love how easy they are to grow and I love the way they taste.  I love the way their crispy texture and pungent flesh add a spicy little surprise to my salad.  I love to pour a mound of salt into the palm of my hand and dip raw radishes directly into it just like I did with my dad when I was little.  Heck, I even like radishes for breakfast!  One of my favorite breakfasts consists of a boiled egg, a big slice of sharp cheddar cheese and a handful of French Breakfast radishes.

As much as I love radishes, I will be the first to admit their uses are somewhat limited.  Google up radish recipes and you will not get too many interesting results.  I discovered this fact while trying to figure out what do with my latest harvest.  This lack of results got me to thinking.  What could I come up with to elevate the status of the lowly radish?  Something that is this easy to grow, tasty and good for you should be more celebrated.  Then it hit me.  Radishes posses a ton of traits that make them the perfect plant for “preppers”.


Every part of the radish is edible, even the greens. Photo by Sally White

Are you familiar with the “prepper” movement?  “Preppers are people that believe there is a very high probability that something really bad is going to happen to the U.S.  in the near future.  Whatever this really bad thing is (asteroid, nuclear attack, economic collapse), it is going to be bad enough that it will force all of us that want to survive to be a whole lot more self reliant.  In order to be prepared for “the undefined really bad thing that is most likely going to happen sometime”, preppers do things like stock pile food, water and seeds to ensure their families can survive the rough times. 

If you are a “prepper”, I believe radish seeds should be a pretty important part of your initial survival kit.  Below are three really good reasons why I believe radishes are the perfect “prepper” plant:

1.  Easy to Grow – Radishes are so fool proof that I truly believe their seeds have a 100% germination rate regardless of variety.  To grow radishes simply place the seeds about 2” apart in a sunny location and cover with about ¼” of soil.  Water in and keep moist until germination.  After germination, continue to apply about 1” of water per week.  The plants will go from seed to plate in as few as 30 days. 

One quick note, radishes are generally a cool season crop.  Most of the short cycle radishes will not grow during the hottest times of the year.

2. Nutritious – Every part of the radish is edible and every part is good for you.  Radishes can go from seed to seedling in 10 to 15 days and then to full grown root with edible top in two more weeks.  The “greens” and roots are high in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folic acid, potassium, vitamin B6 and calcium.   With their high germination rates, rapid growth rates and high nutritional content, radishes will allow you to quickly supplement your food stores with fresh greens and veggies.

3. Storage – Since radishes are root crops they can be stored in root cellars for very long periods of time.  The ascorbic acid in them is not depleted in storage and will fend off scurvy just as well as citrus.  Radishes can also be pickled to further extend their shelf life.

So there you go!  Radishes are tasty, healthy and versatile.  Their ease of cultivation and rapid growth rate make them a great plant to have with you if you need to quickly be able to start feeding yourself and your family.  I hope preppers every where take my advice and finally give the lowly radish some much deserved respect!

A mature radish next to radish foliage ten days after planting. These young sprouts are very tasty and very nutritious



7 thoughts on “Radishes – The Perfect “Prepper” Plant

  1. This really made me laugh, not really out loud, but softly. My husband always plants radishes but never eats radishes. I myself have started roasting them with other root vegetables, garlic, olive oil, salt and rosemary. The radish is a little more mellow when cooked this way and really adds a nice peppery bite to the mix. The only trick is trying to cut the other vegetables into roughly radish sized pieces. He will still mostly pick them out of the other vegetables, but sometimes ends up eating a few. I like them pretty well this way. I do confess that there are lots of radishes in my refrigerator right now, even with the addition of roasted to radish options.

  2. A wonderful way to introduce children to the tastiness of radishes: slice radishes thinly and place slices on a bowl of ice. Butter up some good rolls or thick bread, lay in the radish slices, salt and eat.

    • I have never heard of serving radishes this way. thanks for the tip. I have some that are almost ready for picking now. I am going to do this and see if I can get my wife to eat them! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Pingback: Gardening in Succession and Companion Planting by Mackenzie Kupfer | The Masters of Horticulture

  4. Pingback: Tip of the Week – Week 5 in the Zone 9 Garden |

Leave a Reply