One of the New Plants for 2011 profiled in the new issue of The American Gardener published by the American Horticultural Society is a Watermelon Radish from Renee’s Garden. I am ashamed to say that when I first came across this beautiful vegetable in Beijing I insisted on calling it a turnip. Who ever heard of a radish as big as a baseball? My Chinese colleagues insisted on calling it a radish, but in spite of the fact that their English was excellent I thought it was some sort of mis-translation. I have been put straight.
I have bought seeds for this radish before, but not been very successful, probably because I have not kept it properly watered. All radishes need consistent moisture to size up well. Now that I have my Front Garden which is easily watered I plan to try again. It also should be planted in midsummer as it likes the cool weather. A good prospect for succession sowing.
Photographs do not really do this vegetable justice. The pink center is beautiful ringed with white an almost translucent rim of tender green. In Beijing we often ate this as a fresh pickle and I hope I can recreate that recipe. It is beautiful and delicious.
When I have seen this radish at local farmer’s markets it is usually called Watermelon Radish, but I love the Chinese name Beauty Heart. I was glad that Renee gave both. I wonder if there will be any for sale at the Winterfare farmer’s market in Northampton tomorrow morning. I’ll be looking.