Hello, again!

We all said we didn’t want a repeat of 2020, and I guess we aren't quite having that as every year is certainly different. But I looked back at last year’s weather and in mid-April we had lows in the upper 20’s. How quickly we forget.

Just like years past, our customers are anxiously waiting for our Annual Fill-A-Flat Sale which starts today. Every possible warm spot at the stores is occupied with live plants and tender annuals. Perennial plants and nursery plants are being protected as well as possible. Our truckload of blooming tropical hibiscus was received off-site from the stores to protect it from this morning's forecast of below freezing. Our staff is working hard as you’re reading this today to get things back in order.

My brother Wes, his partner Megan and their son, Orie own and operate Orie’s Farm Fresh in west Wichita. It's a working, urban farm specializing in growing roughly 30 var ieties of local garlic, as well as a wide array of seasonal vegetables. Along with a huge var iety of garlic salt flavorings, their herb seasonings are something Angie and I use almost daily in the kitchen. My favorite is their Breakfast Blend. I remember Wes mentioning to Megan how much easier it would be to purchase the dried herbs used in their mixes. She wanted nothing to do with that as it just wouldn’t be the same product. That was the end of the conversation!

Last year while growing our basil and cilantro herbs in the greenhouse, I did some pruning on the plants as well and decided to give dehydrating a try. Doing research on the topic, I learned that many commercial dehydrators dry at a higher temperature than recommended in order to produce more product, which in turn, removes more flavor. Comparing the flavor of my dried herbs to buying at the local bulk food retailer, I found there was no comparison in taste, and I’m a believer! Herbs are so easy to grow, and the more the plant is harvested or trimmed, the more fresh, tender foliage you’ll have.

With dozens of var ieties in our greenhouses now, I’m sure there will be something you can add to any garden or container to enhance your culinary offerings! Give Orie’s a try, also. With online ordering, porch delivery or pick up at their gate on fresh items you’ll find yourself ordering regularly. When garlic is in season, try one of their many var ieties of specialty garlic. It’s amazing!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center