Fulton gardener grows to give back

Stephanie “Frog” Stambaugh poses in just a portion of her garden at her home on Nichols Street. Stambaugh grows several varieties of fruits and vegetables, which she often shares with members of the community.

Stephanie “Frog” Stambaugh poses in just a portion of her garden at her home on Nichols Street. Stambaugh grows several varieties of fruits and vegetables, which she often shares with members of the community. Photo by Dean Asher.

Though she’s only lived in Fulton for five years, Stephanie “Frog” Stambaugh has been gardening for most of her life.

It started when she was a young girl, moving around in the foster system, growing up on a tobacco farm and falling in love with tending to crops. Now, Stambaugh — whose nickname comes from the frog tattoo on her leg — has dozens of fruits and vegetables growing in her yard at 307 Nichols St., which she tries to use to give back to the community.

Stambaugh grows a wide variety of plants, including a grape vine and tomato plants to squash, strawberries, peppermint, moon and star watermelon. She grows a row of corn that serves as a privacy fence along her house, and her yard sports what might be the only outdoor fig tree in the state of Missouri.

“I’m proud of my fig,” she said. “I’ve asked other people and I don’t know anyone else who’s growing a fig outside. This winter it wasn’t bad but I’d run out there and check it, pull the plastic down and give it extra water. I didn’t want it to die, I wanted to be that one person who had it growing outside.”

Stambaugh lives alone and only sees her fiancé, an on-the-road truck driver, once every few weekends. Rather than try to eat the rows upon rows of produce that fill almost every corner of free yard she has, she seeks to give it away.

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