Gwyn Mellinger

Longtime columnist says farewell
May 7, 2008
I always knew this moment would come, eventually, and that I would find myself writing my most difficult column. “Kitchen & Garden” has sprouted from my keyboard every week for more than 12 years - in the neighborhood of 650 columns - but the time has come to till it under and plant something new.
Vegetable garden offers cheap thrills
April 30, 2008
While the results of a vegetable garden can provide immense satisfaction and win you instant friends who covet your bounty, gardening isn’t a terribly exciting pursuit.
Asparagus shunned by skeptics in society
April 23, 2008
As the ground warms in April, it forces new life to the surface, sending up daffodils, tulips and my personal favorite of all spring perennials: asparagus. The early tips - fleshy and tender as they always are at the beginning of the season - began poking through the soil in clusters last weekend, a sure indicator of a bountiful crop.
Repairs send household into pioneer era
April 16, 2008
I’ve developed a new appreciation for the trials of my pioneer foremothers, even if my own compromised situation is a long way from replicating theirs. Contractors working in our basement removed our hot water heater and furnace last week. Then, intermittent wet weather extended a three-day project into an ordeal of indefinite duration.
Tillers’ effectiveness, cost vary
April 9, 2008
For many vegetable growers, April is the most important month in the gardening cycle. People who do not plant early vegetables like greens, potatoes and cole crops - which is probably the majority of gardeners - usually turn the soil for the first time in April.
Boomer-friendly garden gadgets popular
April 2, 2008
Long ago, in a much simpler time, growing vegetables was a straightforward matter. When our grandparents were wielding the hoe, they worked the soil, planted their seeds and let nature take its course.
Carrots a challenge, but can be grown
March 26, 2008
One of the vegetables that can be directly seeded into the garden this time of year is the carrot, which has developed - unfairly, I might add - a reputation for being difficult to grow.
Drastic weather shifts add challenge to growing from seeds
March 19, 2008
When I looked out the window early Saturday morning, a light dusting of snow covered the ground. While it melted by mid-day, it was a reminder of just how tenuous the arrival of spring can be in March and April.
Different techniques head off nature’s interlopers in the garden
March 12, 2008
At long last, the forecast calls for spring. This week we were to have consecutive days with temperatures in the 60s and just a slight chance of precipitation. For gardeners, who come by their thrills easily, this is exciting news.
Gardening bond among strangers
March 5, 2008
One of the indisputable perks of writing this column for more than a decade is that I have met an astonishing number of people who share my passion for vegetable gardening. I’m using the word “met” loosely here, as many of these acquaintances have been fashioned casually through e-mail or over the phone.
Area retailers catching up with seed offerings
February 27, 2008
For more than three months, my mailbox has been filled with seed catalogs. The first one arrived before Thanksgiving, and some companies have even sent follow-up catalogs, hoping to make my elusive order materialize.
Difficulties increase in finding nutritious, affordable food
February 20, 2008
Strolling through the supermarket last week, I spotted a cherry pie on sale for $2.99. If I pick and pit the cherries, I can make a cherry pie at less cost, but if I have to use canned pie filling, I can’t beat that price.The $2.99 pie was passable, for a mass-produced dessert, though it wouldn’t win any ribbons at the county fair.
Chocolate obsession all the rave
February 13, 2008
Being infatuated with chocolate really didn’t become stylish until the gourmet foodie craze gained traction in the 1970s - at least not in America. I’m not certain when the term “chocoholic” was coined, but I sense the presence of marketers hoping to convince average Americans that a heart-shaped box of Russell Stovers would no longer pass muster on the Day of Love.
White chocolate makes cookie guilty pleasure
February 6, 2008
Every so often, I am confronted by what I deem to be the tastiest cookie ever invented, which features hazelnuts and chunks of white chocolate as its main ingredients. Usually, this cookie appears in a display case as an alternative to the more pedestrian yet more popular milk chocolate chip cookie. And happily, the run on cookies made with milk chocolate chips usually means there’s an ample supply of my preferred cookie.
Too-far-gone fruit isn’t necessarily a bad thing
January 30, 2008
I found myself a few weeks ago with a supply of over-ripe bananas. I like my bananas with sugar spots, but these were too far gone even for me, so I let them continue to ripen until they were black.