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Gwyn Mellinger

Basil, tomatoes an aromatic, flavorful mix
June 27, 2007
Summer has settled in. Even without consulting a calendar, I know it is late June because of the buzz at my ear every time I walk to the garden and the way the heat washes across my face and down my neck as I stoop to weed. Preparing to work in the garden now requires a ritual bath in sunscreen and insect repellant.
Founding father’s methods blossom in modern gardens
June 20, 2007
When I found myself in central Virginia last week, I did what any red-blooded American vegetable gardener would do: I took the Monticello garden tour. While most people think of Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of Independence, vegetable gardeners know him for his contributions to organic gardening and to garden design.
Harvest for onions, garlic drawing near
June 13, 2007
A reader called the other day to talk about when to dig up the elephant garlic he planted last fall. The leaves were just starting to yellow, which is a sign that the time to harvest is drawing near.
Vegetable gardens inspiring site on the road
June 6, 2007
My bumper sticker should say, “I brake for vegetable gardens.” This time of year, I spend a fair amount of time rubbernecking people’s gardens out my car window. As I drive to work or make a trip into town, I instinctively slow down and ogle the home gardens that spring up along the side of the road - tilled patches of brown and green productivity carved into suburban or farmhouse lawns.
Seasoned’ straw makes best mulch for vegetable gardens
May 30, 2007
Most people wouldn’t lament the fact that they had run out of partially rotten straw, primarily because they wouldn’t keep the stuff around in the first place. But I do and I did run out, and for me, this was a minor tragedy.
Busy bees keep gardens growing
May 23, 2007
From a Kansas gardener’s perspective, Sunday was a perfect day. The temperature topped out just above 80 degrees, and a cool breeze combined with just enough cloud cover kept the sun from feeling hot. Even better, the forecast called for rain at mid-week, eight days after the last precipitation at my house.
Black Saturday greenhouse visit reveals cheerful breed of shoppers
May 16, 2007
The Saturday before Mother’s Day is a greenhouse owner’s equivalent of the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Heavy rains keep gardeners at bay
May 9, 2007
Earlier this week, most vegetable growers were waiting for the standing water to recede from their gardens - or in many cases, from the plot of mud where they had hoped to be planting hot-weather vegetables about now.
Vine-ripe tomatoes turn heads, tempt your taste buds
May 2, 2007
The No. 1 reason people plant vegetable gardens or go to farmers markets is for the tomatoes. Over the years I have struggled with language, trying to find a way to describe the irresistible flavor of a home-grown tomato that has been allowed to hang on the vine until the moment of optimal ripeness.
Wear your farmer’s tan with pride
April 25, 2007
If I were a more prudent gardener, I would not have done what I did Saturday. But I am convinced that every once in a while, flagrant breaches of moderation are good for the soul, if not for the body.
Proper handling and preparation key to avoiding foodborne illness
April 18, 2007
This column won’t pass the Cheerios Test. That’s the old newspaper industry rule of thumb that says the morning paper shouldn’t ruin the reader’s breakfast. Subjects that turn the stomach are supposedly off limits, but I’m claiming an exemption to talk about food safety, a subject that is all about turning stomachs.
Damage from hard freeze runs deep
April 11, 2007
For most Kansans, last week’s tumble into the deep freeze was an inconvenience. For vegetable gardeners and people with fruit trees, it was a cause for heartbreak.
Asparagus a tasty rite of spring
April 4, 2007
Spring food columns about asparagus are as routine as the appearance of asparagus itself. Each year in late March or early April, stalks begin popping up from asparagus patches all over northeast Kansas. There it is, right on schedule, begging to be eaten. As a fan, I can’t help but hold forth.
Planning, dreaming help ensure successful garden
March 28, 2007
Dusk is one of my favorite times to visit the garden. In early spring, when the growing season is barely underway, the evening is a time to plan and envision what’s to come.
Planning, not willpower, makes a garden grow
March 21, 2007
I filled out two brackets for this year’s NCAA basketball tournament, and the Jayhawks advance to the center of the page on both of them.