• Carrie Hisaoka and Ben Warren win Table of the Day at fourth Sitka Farmers Market of 2012

TABLE OF THE DAY: Sitka Local Foods Network intern Courtney Bobsin, far left, volunteer Mark Partido, second from right, and volunteer Marjo Vidad, right, present the Table of the Day Award to Carrie Hisaoka (with baby Joshua Warren) and Ben Warren for the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season, on Aug. 18, 2012, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. Carrie and Ben sold handmade jewelry, fireweed bread cookies and homemade granola. The Sitka Local Foods Network board selects a Table of the Day winner from the vendors at each Sitka Farmers Market of the season, and the winners receive prizes such as a fifth-anniversary market tote bag and check.

The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at ANB Hall (235 Katlian St.). The Sitka Local Foods Network is seeking volunteers to help set up tables and tents before the market starts, and to tear down and pack up the market after it ends. We need volunteers for the two remaining markets (Sept. 1 and 15). If you have a strong back and helping hands, please contact Johanna Willingham at 738-8336 for more details. Also, if you are a vendor who wants to accept Quest and debit card tokens, please contact Johanna. For more information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and the Sitka Farmers Market, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/

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• Lori Adams discusses everything she’s learned about growing radishes in her latest Daily Sitka Sentinel garden column

(Lori Adams, who owns Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden and is a frequent vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, will be writing a regular garden column in the Daily Sitka Sentinel this summer. The Sentinel is allowing us to reprint the columns on this site after they first appear in the newspaper. This column appeared on Page 4 of the Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

GARDENING IN SITKA

By Lori Adams

EVERYTHING I’VE LEARNED ABOUT GROWING RADISHES

All of the gardening books I have read say that growing radishes is SO easy, but I really have a hard time growing a good decent radish.

Every year I try, and every year I get a few good ones and a whole lot of bad ones — skinny tough roots with nice tops that immediately bolt. This year I actually grew some pretty decent radishes so I think I’m starting to get it figured out a little. I refuse to give up.

First of all, radishes are a root crop, so they don’t like a lot of fertilizer. In fact, the books pretty much say to just throw the seeds in any old dirt and they will grow. Nitrogen produces large luscious tops, not large plump roots, so this fall don’t put any nitrogen-rich material in the bed where you plan to plant radishes next year. Instead, bulk up the bed with sand and loose organic material such as beach/forest mulch (not much seaweed) and leaves.

Next spring, either mix some bonemeal into the soil or gather some starfish to bury about four inches below the surface and then plant your seeds directly on top of the bed. I recommend buying seeds for varieties that are shaped like carrots rather than the typical round ones because they produce more poundage per square foot. If you are using a seeder the seeds will be buried, but if you broadcast the seeds by hand you will need to rake them in a little or sprinkle some dirt over the top.

Be sure not to get the seeds too close together. I am sure this is one of my biggest problems. Radishes that are too close together just shoot up and bolt. Proper spacing is VERY important. About three inches of spacing is about right. You can hand plant each seed, but that is very, very tedious. That’s why I purchased a seeder. I am still learning how to use it, but I think it will be helpful to achieve proper spacing.

Radishes need cool weather to germinate and grow and we have that, but even though our winters are mild it doesn’t work to plant outdoors in February (believe me, I’ve tried). Some years you can plant in March, but mid-April is probably the best time to plant.

Be sure to cover the bed with floating row cover to protect the seedlings from frost and the dreaded root maggot flies. Radishes are from the brassica family and root maggot flies love them. It can be helpful if you do not grow radishes (or any other brassicas) in the same spot each year.

It is important to keep the surface of the bed damp while you are waiting for the seeds to germinate, and on dry days it may be necessary to water the bed more than once. After germination it is very important to water evenly. Large fluctuations in watering can cause radishes to split, bolt or get pithy.

If you have tried everything and your radishes still bolt, pull them up and throw them in the compost, but leave a few of them in the ground. They will flower and then grow seed pods. The green, tender pods can be eaten whole and they taste just like radishes.

One variety called the “Rat Tail Radish” (raphanus sativus) is grown specifically for its pods. It grows about six feet tall and produces hundreds of pods. The advantage of growing this variety is that it matures in the summer and likes warm weather, but unlike other varieties it needs rich, fertilized soil. I like to plant both types for radish taste all season long.

Brought to you by Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden

2103 Sawmill Creek Road

Open June-August / Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

747-6108 or 738-2241

http://downtoearthupick.blogspot.com/

• Join us for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm work parties on Wednesday and Saturday

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a pair of work parties this week at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street (the dark brown brick/wood church above Crescent Harbor).

The first work party will be from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22. The second work party is from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. Dress for the weather, and tools and gloves are provided for use. We will be weeding, picking slugs and other garden maintenance tasks that need to be done.

In addition to the work parties, we will have fresh produce available for either a donation or WIC produce warrants.

Food grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is sold at the Sitka Farmers Market to raise money for Sitka Local Foods Network projects during the year. For more information, contact St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt at 738-7009 or 623-7003.

• Suzan Brawnlyn, the Chef at the Market, provides her recipes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of 2012

Suzan Brawnlyn, the Chef at the Market, discusses how to cook Egyptian walking onions during a cooking demonstration on Aug. 18, 2012, at the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season.

Suzan Brawnlyn, the Chef at the Market, discusses how to cook Egyptian walking onions during a cooking demonstration on Aug. 18, 2012, at the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season.

This year, the Sitka Local Foods Network is happy to feature local chef Suzan Brawnlyn as its “Chef at the Market.” Suzan received a grant to provide cooking demonstrations at at least four of our six markets this year.

Suzan also has been making her recipes available so people can try them at home. Her recipes from the fourth market on Aug. 18 are posted below. Her featured herb was the Egyptian walking onion, and her featured vegetables were “The Greens” (chard, kale, beet, spinach and collards).

The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.).The Sitka Local Foods Network is seeking volunteers to help set up tables and tents before the market starts, and to tear down and pack up the market after it ends. We need volunteers for  the two remaining markets (Sept. 1 and 15). If you have a strong back and helping hands, please contact Johanna Willingham at 738-8336 for more details.

• Chef at the Market recipes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season, Aug. 18, 2012

• Celebrity food adventurer Andrew Zimmern stops by the Sitka Farmers Market

TV personality Andrew Zimmern is filmed as he samples some blackcod tips during the Aug. 18, 2012, Sitka Farmers Market.

TV personality Andrew Zimmern is filmed as he samples some blackcod tips during the Aug. 18, 2012, Sitka Farmers Market.

Celebrity food adventurer Andrew Zimmern was in Sitka this weekend, and he stopped by the Aug. 18 Sitka Farmers Market to film interviews for his three Travel Channel television showsBizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World and his new show, Bizarre Foods America.

Andrew Zimmern tries a salmon crepe from Keri Fish.

Andrew Zimmern tries a salmon crepe from Keri Fish.

Zimmern is a noted TV personality, chef, food writer and teacher, but he’s most known for traveling the world sampling bizarre foods that most Americans have either neither heard of or had the guts to try (or both). None of the food he sampled at the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday falls under the category of bizarre (unless you’re not used to eating a little beach asparagus on your blackcod tips or kelp pickles on your salmon crepes). But he’ll sample stinkfish and other Tlingít delicacies this week when he heads to Kake. Andrew’s website is subtitled “Experiencing Food, Sharing Culture.”

While he was at the Sitka Farmers Market, he interviewed Sitka Local Foods Network president Kerry MacLane and sampled some of Kerry’s blackcod tips. He also sampled a salmon crepe with kelp pickles from Keri Fish’s booth, he checked out some of the jams and jellies from Renée Pierce’s Simple Pleasures booth and bought fry bread from Grace Larson. On Monday, he Tweeted about and posted an Instragram photo of his bagel from the Highliner Coffee shop.

It’s unknown when Zimmern’s Alaska show(s) will air, but his Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern show airs on Monday nights on the Travel Channel.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service hosts planning meeting for International Master Gardener Cruise in 2013

There will be a planning meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus for local activities related to the 2013 International Master Gardener Conference.

The International Master Gardener 2013 Conference will be aboard the Holland America cruise ship MS Westerdam, which will stop in Sitka from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. Conference planners expect more than 900 passengers on the Westerdam will be registered for the IMG conference.

Local IMG conference activities will complement existing commercial cruise ship tours and activities. Examples of possible gardening activities for the IMG Sitka stop include a self-guided tour of the Sitka Pioneer Home, Russian Bishop’s House and downtown gardens, several repeating presentations on Sitka gardening past and present at Harrigan Centennial Hall, a bus tour of Sitka gardens, and a guided tour of the Forest and Muskegs Trail at Old Sitka Historic State Park near Starrigavan Bay. All groups and individuals interested in planning activities for the 2013 IMG Sitka stop are invited to the planning meeting on Aug. 21.

For more information, call the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440.

• Lori Adams discusses everything she’s learned about growing turnips in her latest Daily Sitka Sentinel garden column

(Lori Adams, who owns Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden and is a frequent vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, will be writing a regular garden column in the Daily Sitka Sentinel this summer. The Sentinel is allowing us to reprint the columns on this site after they first appear in the newspaper. This column appeared on Page 4 of the Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

GARDENING IN SITKA

By Lori Adams

EVERYTHING I’VE LEARNED ABOUT GROWING TURNIPS

I have been growing turnips the last couple of years for the greens, but have never had any luck growing them for the bulbs.

This year I was able to actually harvest some large bulbs and they were really delicious. They taste like a cross between a kohlrabi and a radish. It turns out that they are relatively easy to grow, so from now on I am going to make more room in my garden for turnips.

To prep the bed for growing turnips be sure not over-fertilize with nitrogen. Turnips are a root crop and root crops like loose soil amended with organic material, sand, bonemeal and plenty of lime (seashell sand) to keep them from being bitter. Plant the seeds directly outside in the soil with about 4-inch spacing.

If you want a lot of tops you can plant the seeds closer, and then when they are big enough to eat you can simply thin the crop by pulling every other plant completely out of the ground. After planting the seeds be sure to cover the entire area with row cover. All of the local pests seem to like turnips and it is not uncommon to pull one and find it riddled with holes and bite marks. Row cover and crop rotation can really help minimize pest damage.

At harvest time most of the turnips bulbs will be pushing their tops up out of the soil, so you will be able to see how big they are. Pull them when they still tender — about 3 inches in diameter. If they get too large they can become quite woody and fibrous. You can eat them raw or cooked and it is not necessary to peel them. The greens are ready to eat at any time and you can pull the entire plants or clip off the leaves leaving the roots to grow more leaves for a later harvest.

One of the reasons I am enthused about growing more turnips next year is because they are ready to harvest so early in the season, when there are mostly just greens to eat and no poundage crops. I had always considered them a fall crop, so I was surprised to have them mature so early. It might even be possible to sow multiple plantings each season.

Although it sounds so easy to grow turnips it took a lot of years for me to be successful at it. I think the biggest mistakes I made in the past were planting them too close together and adding too much nitrogen. If there is one thing I’ve learned about gardening in Sitka it’s to never give up. Keep trying and eventually you will probably succeed.

Brought to you by Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden

2103 Sawmill Creek Road

Open June-August / Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

747-6108 or 738-2241

http://downtoearthupick.blogspot.com/