Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Cherry Belle & Zlata Radishes
Here are two radishes I'm growing this year; Cherry Belle which is probably the most common and popular red radish around, and Zlata, a rare and unusual radish from Poland that I acquired via Solana Seeds.
It was interesting to grow them together. The Zlata were the ones that excited me: yellow radishes! How novel - until last fall I didn't know there was such a thing. White; yes - there are a number of white radishes out there.
So far, however, I'm finding the Cherry Belles the better radish. There's a reason they are so popular. They are fattening up a few days quicker, they are holding juicier and crisper, and they are not so hot. They are also known for producing a minimal amount of leaves in proportion to the roots, and for storing in the fridge for quite a while. The Zlatas look like they could toughen up quickly, and they are more of a creamy tan than yellow, at least for me so far. It's possible they may be more yellow in other strains or grown inother soils. Cherry Belle was an All-America Select winner in 1949, so they've been around for quite a while. Some people even describe them as an heirloom variety. Both are open-pollinated.
Cherry Belle are supposed to be ready in as few as 22 days, but I've never had any radish ready as soon as advertised. Still, I'm pretty sure ours were ready in about 5 weeks, with the Zlata only a couple of days behind them. Mind you, neither of them are coming ready all at once; we seem to be getting half a dozen fattening up every few days, which is quite convenient.
Like all radishes they grow best in light soil, cool damp weather but in full sun. Radishes are easy to grow and the seeds are not too small, making them a popular first crop for children. However, I remember growing them as a child at our cottage and being very disappointed when they produced lush green tops and stringy, radishless roots; our soil was too poor even for radishes. If you grow radishes you will know they are ready by their shoulders, which peek up out of the soil.
Last year at this time I made Lemon Fried Chicken with Mushrooms, Asparagus with Pumpkin Seeds & Lemon Dressing, and Chick Pea, Egg & Belgian Endive Salad.