By Julio P. Yap Jr.

There is a new radish variety that grows very well in the vegetable terraces of Mount Timbak in Atok, Benguet, which is much larger than most common varieties.

It is the Timbac 55 F1 Hybrid Korean Radish variety which was developed by Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC) for planting in highland areas like Atok and its neigboring municipalities. Incidentally, Mount Timbak is the third highest peak in Luzon with an altitude of 2,717 meters above sea level, and the ninth highest in the Philippines.

Close-up of the harvested Timbac 55 F1 hybrid Korean radish variety (left) and the root of the other variety.

During a recent harvest event hosted by farmer Augusto Martin of Kilometer 55 in Atok, and initiated by ABC, participants witnessed how bountiful Martin’s harvest was. His radishes were enormous, measuring more than eight inches with a diameter of no less than four inches.

According to ABC Benguet area sales manager Douglas del Amen, the Timbac 55 F1 hybrid Korean radish has crisp and firm flesh, and offers a surprisingly mild radish flavor and spice. It has even a mild sugary taste which is very advisable for use in salad preparations and for use in different recipes which require the use of the root crop.

The variety has thick and smooth skin which is creamy white in color, and is capped with pale green shoulders. It has a uniform big root size, and excellent root and flesh qualities.

Good Qualities

Bolting occurs after crops prematurely produce a flowering stem before it is harvested. Experts said that these flowering stems are commonly extensions of existing leaf-bearing stems, and in order to produce them, a plant usually diverts resources from producing edible parts, like the leaves or roots, resulting in a poor quality harvest.

Del Amen said that the new variety tolerates bolting well. Other radish varieties which are prone to bolt will produce a bitter and undesirable flavor, and tend to be ‘woodier’ in nature.

ABC area sales manager Douglas del Amen explains to the other vegetable farmers in Atok the advantages of using the new radish variety.

Martin said he now harvests at least 15 baskets of radish from his half-hectare plantation after using Timbac 55 F1. Each basket weighs not less than 40 kilos. He says it has good qualities: is easily harvestable, and maintains its good root size which makes the radish marketable.

After the harvest event, a brief discussion was held, during which Del Amen introduced the variety to the other farmers in the area.

Awed by the bountiful harvest of Martin, most of the farmers that participated in the discussion readily bought the seeds of the variety, which they will cultivate in their respective farmlands. The mini harvest event eventually turned festive mode after Martin served “pinikpikan na manok” for lunch: a soup dish which is prepared by the indigenous people of the mountainous provinces.

Another Good Crop

Prior to the event, Martin had already harvested a truckload of cabbage from his nearby farmland. He said that it is likewise very marketable because the cabbage is heavier than other varieties, and has a compact head. He produced this crop using the Gladiator F1 hybrid cabbage
variety, also from ABC.

Farmer Augusto Martin proudly shows the fruits of his labor.

The variety is widely adaptable in areas like Benguet, and very ideal for the rainy season, according to Del Amen.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2016 issue.