Radish 'Cherry Belle'
Scientific Name: Raphanus sativa
Common Name: Radish 'Cherry Belle', alternatively known as 'Champion'
Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard & Cabbage)
Raphanus: Appearing Rapidly; Greek
Radishes are truly a vegetable of ancient heritage, they are thought to have originated in Asia and were enjoyed by both the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Radish 'Cherry Belle' is a small (4cm across), bright red-skinned heirloom radish variety with creamy, white flesh. This variety is fast growing and great for getting the kids into gardening as it can be ready to harvest in as little as 4 weeks. Plants stay small only growing to about 15cm tall. The flesh of this variety is also less likely to become pithy than other varieties.
Radishes can be eaten raw and although pungent they make a tasty addition to salads when sliced thinly. When boiled they taste much milder and can easily be eaten plain, although the red will turn to a more pale purple colour on cooking. Another popular way to prepare radishes is to roast them. Diced radishes can be added to risottos and stir-fries.
This variety can be sown all year round in subtropic, temperate and cool regions of Australia. In the tropics it's best to sow during the dry season from April to July. Sow radish seed 1cm deep spacing each hole about 10cm apart.
Radishes are easy to grow when provided with a rich, free draining growing soil. Mix garden compost through the soil prior to planting if it is lacking in organic matter and remove any large stones. Mulch between plants once the radish seedlings have germinated and started growing. Prefers a full sun position. Takes four to five weeks from sowing the seed to harvest. Can be susceptible to slugs and snails.
Radish 'Cherry Belle' emerging from the mulch, about 2/3rds of fully grown size.
This variety doesn't grow very large, above is the entire mature plant, leaves and roots included.
Radish leaves are edible either cooked or raw and have much milder flavour than the root. Be carefully to avoid pricking your tongue on the small fine hairs on the leaf stems.
What causes radishes to split? Leaving radishes in the ground for too long, or giving them too much water after a dry spell can cause them to split. Try to water your radishes evenly and harvest them as soon as they are mature to prevent splitting. Remember though, a split radish is still perfectly edible.