Marion Owen

Given a chance, radishes can dress up many recipes, whether eaten raw, pickled or cooked. These Dragon radishes can grow up to 8 inches long without becoming too peppery. (Marion Owen photo)

I love it when a plan comes together, even if I didn’t plan it that way.

In the garden, we have strawberries and radishes maturing at the same time, strawberries in containers on the deck (to keep them out of slug-harm’s way) and radishes in a raised bed next to the white, Hakurei turnips.

Now you’d think they are dissimilar edibles, never to cohabit the same bowl. But with both brimming with red right now, I thought, why not?

Here are a couple salad recipes I’ve been working with.

Strawberry and Radish Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Cress

This recipe also works with fresh salmonberries…

2 cups strawberries

2 cups radishes

2 Tbl Balsamic vinegar

2 Tbl olive oil

Handful of cress or parsley

Pinch of salt

Trim the stems off the strawberries and radishes. Cut strawberries into quarters and slice or quarter the radishes. Mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a large bowl. Plop in the radishes and strawberries and toss. Add the cress and salt and toss again. Serve right away.

Strawberry-Radish Salad

2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

6 radishes, sliced thin

3 chopped green onions, or 1/2 cup minced

4 teaspoons lemon juice

1 Tbl sugar

Mixed salad greens

Your favorite vinegar based dressing

Salt (optional)

Ground black pepper (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, orange sections, radishes, green onions, lemon juice, and sugar. Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Arrange greens mixture on plates or single platter and spoon strawberry mixture on top of salad greens. Serve with a smile.

Now a word about radishes…

If you want to introduce vegetable gardening to a child, grow radishes. Colorful and crisp, radishes are a popular addition to vegetable salads, and even salad dressings when they're whipped up in a blender or food processor.

The beauty of radishes is not just their bright color, which makes them easy to spot when a child is on a garden treasure hunt, but they mature quickly, some in as little as four weeks (when we're blessed with a mild spring and summer like this year’s).

The numerous radish varieties also have tempting names like Comet, Cherry Belle, and White Icicle, and colors that vary from white to scarlet, read, and yellow. But three of my favorite are Dragon, Daikon and Amethyst.

You want to sow the seeds every two weeks about a half inch deep and in rows 4 to 6 inches apart in rich, somewhat sandy or fluffy soil. Like all roots crops, fluffy soil is a must as they don't like tough soil any more than you'd like to wear tight shoes.

Keep the soil evenly moist which causes them to grow more quickly. The faster they grow, I’m told, the better they taste.

Germination should occur in about a week and plants should be ready to harvest (and eat) in about a month. As they grow, thin seedlings to 2 inches apart (3 to 4 inches for the larger varieties). Thinning seedling is a fun and educational activity for kids. It helps them judge distances (between seedlings) and practice dexterity (grabbing hold of a small set of leaves). And if you want to demonstrate how thinning helps plants grow better, bigger and stronger, leave one row un-thinned and compare results later.

Not too many pests bother a radish. Slugs might nibble on the leaves or scar the surface, but the worst pest is the cabbage, or root, maggots. Root maggots, by the way, are considered the worst pest in Alaska's home gardens.

Come harvest time, pull radishes as soon as the roots mature. Oversized radishes are ghastly: cracked, tough and woody. So don’t forget to check your radishes, for they will eventually bolt or split if left in the ground too long.

Where do radishes come from? A member of the cabbage family, they are native of western Asia. By the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, they had reached the Mediterranean. Like the turnip it’s mainly swollen lower stem, and has been shaped by human selection into many distinctive forms and striking colors, (for example, green at the surface and red inside).

What makes a radish so peppery? The pungency is created by an enzyme reaction that forms a volatile mustard oil. Much of that enzyme is found in the surface skin, so peeling will moderate the hot pepperiness.

To eat a radish, there's more to it than grabbing a salt shaker, which, when I was growing up, stymied my tasted for radishes. It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I learned to appreciate the oft-forgotten root. Here is one more way to savor radishes:

Halibut Seviche with Radishes and Peas

3/4 cup each rice vinegar and water (or 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup water)

2 TBL minced crystallized ginger

1/2 tsp coriander seed

1 pound boned and skinned halibut, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

1 cup sliced red radishes

In a 10 to 12-inch frying pan over medium to high heat, bring vinegar, water, ginger and coriander to boiling. Add fish; reduce heat, cover and simmer until opaque but still moist-looking, which should only take about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer fish to a bowl. Boil liquid until it is reduced to 1 cup; pour over fish and chill until cool (1 to 8 hours).

Stir in peas and radish slices. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into 4 or 6 shallow soup bowls; distribute liquid among dishes.

So take a walk in your garden to see what’s ready to pick. Pick two things that you’ve never considered serving together and get creative. I’d love to learn what you come up with.

Marion Owen’s garden is open for tours from 9am to noon on most days. Call 907-539-5009 or find her on Facebook for more information. To connect with local gardeners, visit the Kodiak Growers or the Sustainable Kodiak Facebook page. Archived copies of Marion’s columns are posted at

I came across this recipe while on my Tumblr account. The photo and recipe are the creation of a blogger who refers to herself as someone who "loves heirloom vegetables" and "taking subpar photos" with her phone. I beg to differ on that last point!


1/3 cup chopped nasturtiums, mixed colors if available

1/4 lb (1 stick) room temperature real butter

1/2 clove fresh garlic, crushed and minced

1 rounded tsp onion stem (the thick part above the bulb below the green) crushed and minced

1 tsp fresh flat leaf parsley, minced

1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced


Fold together and chill, covered for at least an hour. Overnight would be the best. Serve on warm bread or on cooked vegetables.

Source: Morning Sun

Meanwhile, just as you should stop and smell the roses, stop and take in the goldenchain’s beauty, which only lasts two or three weeks.

To learn and connect with local gardeners, visit the Kodiak Growers Facebook page. Archived copies of Marion’s columns are posted at Contact Marion at


Sit up

Go outside

Listen to music

Don’t read

Massage scalp

It started with my grandmother who pass it to her extended children and so my mother to me and now I to my children. I remember my mother being as faithful to this day as my sisters and I are this day.

Being sick was no fun but the thought of the remedy was never welcome, not until we started to drink and feel better anyway. It all started with a sore through, inflammation or the cough that my mother will not even wait to make the tea. She will say “if it doesn’t cure you it won’t hurt you either”. She will start by boiling water enough for a big mug for five minutes pour in a glass container and then add the ready three smashed garlic teeth, one full purple onion ring, 1 teaspoon dry oregano, a squish of lime juice and honey to sweet it and cover it. She let it rest for a few minutes to marinate all the ingredients. She will add more lime juice or honey if we need too. Now this days she added some fresh shaving ginger. I never understood this recipe and saw anywhere so in times I want to share this incredible and efficient recipe I could because I was embrace of the name even thought I knew how good it was.

All my life I thought it was one of my mom’s ideas to put good ingredients together, but when I took the Gardening class at the college with a special speaker about natural herbs, name, she gave.

I think that it could be tedious to make this tea other than just add a tea bag or use over the counter medicine but this is far better and natural. Most importantly it doesn’t tastes as bad as it might sound. My son David, 10 will ask for the tea wheat never he has a sore throat

In 1841,

I don’t know of any other regions in the U.S. where day length is such a big deal as in Alaska. “Wow, we’re gaining almost five minutes a day,” is a comment you’re much more likely to hear in a grocery store line in Kodiak more than say, in Alabama. Nonetheless, the first day of spring is so close you can taste it.

From Lydia Clayton,

Cooperative Extension Agent, Alaska

Soil science, particularly the measure of soil nutrients, is not an exact science. Soil test results should not be used as a definitive report for what nutrients are available in the soil, but rather when looked at over time a relative pattern of nutrient availability and transition.

That being said, in high tunnel growing systems particularly, we are often seeing an initial buildup of nutrients, in some cases to levels that may (though you as growers will be the ones to decide if this is true in your case) result in negative effects on some vegetable genus. For example, manures are often high in potassium salts. High levels of these salts can cause two particular problems:

1. some vegetables are salt sensitive (beans, strawberries, etc), even at fairly low levels and may be negatively impacted

2. high levels of potassium compete with magnesium uptake, so plants with high magnesium requirements (fruiting crops in general: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc and our brassicas) will be negatively effected.

Fortunately potassium salts are water soluble and can be leached from the soil with precipitation. In high tunnels that are covered year round, they do not get the benefit of natural rainwater leaching, so managers must take a proactive approach and use irrigation water to leach the salt from the soil.

These management challenges are nothing new to enclosed growing systems and in many places the result has been that growers are moving their structures regularly or as needed. Eliot Coleman designed the 'moveable' high tunnel structure on tracks, which in addition to allowing him to cover multiple perennial crops with the same structure, allows the soil to be exposed to the natural elements as needed to combat such soil problem as this.

Marion Owen’s 5-week organic gardening class at Kodiak College starts March 27. Register online: Connect with local gardeners on the Kodiak Growers or the Sustainable Kodiak Facebook page. Archived copies of Marion’s columns are posted at Contact Marion at

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