Growing Cherry Belle Radishes
Botanical Name: Raphanus sativus
The word “belle” means beautiful in French. And Cherry Belle is a beautiful example of a radish that looks just like a poster image from a green grocers shop: small, uniformly round, bright red-pink, and with crisp, tasty snow-white flesh inside that attractive skin.
Cherry Belle radishes really are cherry red, and generally are harvested when they reach ¾ inch or at most one inch in diameter. Because this radish selection is such an early starter in the garden calendar, it may take less than a month from seed to table!
Most growers state that Cherry Belle radishes mature in anywhere from 21 to 27 days, so be sure to get back into the garden soon after sowing, to harvest these mouthwatering vegetables while they are the most tender. Germination for the Cherry Belle radish is a week or less.
With that fast growth, the green tops of Cherry Belle are also prized for their contributions at the table. To use radish greens, just cut off the whole clump of greens from every radish you harvest.Then float the greens in a large bowl filled with cold water, lift, and drain.
Dust, tiny bugs, and other imperfections will separate easily from the tops. Then, if the greens are quite small and tender, add them to any salad mix. If the greens are more fully developed, steam or braise them and serve with hot sauce or vinegar, or include the chopped greens in soups and stews.
Bred for reliability, the radish Cherry Belle has been a prize winning variety for just about 75 years, a record that attests to the ease of growing. This radish even performs well in the kinds of soil generally described as “poor,” that is, thin and sandy, or broken and dry.
Ordinarily, of course, radishes do best in fertile, deeply worked soil with a lot of organic material in the mix. So it’s especially good to know there is one radish – Cherry Belle – that can do well even if your garden spot seems hopeless. Just make sure there’s a lot of sun and as much steady moisture as you can provide; that is, don’t let the radish patch go too long without a drink, but don’t soak the plants so much that they can’t drain.
Even though Cherry Belle radish seeds should be sown directly into the cool soil of spring or late summer, for a prompt yield away from midsummer heat, this variety has a reputation for withstanding pithiness should the weather get too warm.
Try sowing radish seeds in succession in both spring and fall. Instead of planting a whole packet of seeds at once, in a long row, try sowing about a quarter of the seeds one week and another quarter in each of three successive weeks. The period of harvest is longer, and you won’t be overwhelmed with a sudden glut.