Garden Candy and The Seed Catalog Mystery

Not too many years ago, he decided he wanted his own garden. Only cherry tomatoes. Lots of them. Every color.

It was the very end of the gardening season when he made that declaration, but we picked out a place, turned over the soil, added grass clippings and chopped up leaves. And made sure to invite some of our “girls” (worms from the compost bin) to move into the new area.

Then came the waiting. Cold. Winter. Snow.

When?  He kept asking.  When!?!

Right after the first of the year the seed catalogs started to arrive. And a special trip to the seed company with Uncle Gubby. . .

I may not remember all the details of that year correctly (every story “changes” over time), but I do remember it was late February – time to order seeds. Lots of catalogs had been arriving over the previous few weeks, tempting me with colorful photos and fabulous descriptions. I looked in the apothecary drawer where I kept all my gardening records. Not a single catalog was there. How strange. I looked in the pile of magazines near the door, on my desk, and in the basement where the grow lights were patiently waiting to be turned on. No catalogs. I looked in the old box where we put papers to start the wood-stove. I even rummaged through the recycle bags. Did I mistakenly toss out my garden fantasies? It’s not that I didn’t know my old stand-by varieties. I even had seed that I’d been saving from year to year myself. But in a time before the internet was everywhere, seed catalogs were our link to all the variety trials, gardener’s success stories and farmer’s reviews.

He wanted a garden of his own . . .

As I entered his bedroom (he was still in school that afternoon), I was greeted by the stuffed sand animals and John Deere tractors scattered around the floor. The bookcase was overflowing as always, and peeking out from under the bed was the tattered corner of . . . a seed catalog! When I got down on my knees and looked under the bed, I found all those pages of garden dreams. Each was dog-eared. And in every one, images of cherry tomatoes were circled with crayon. Garden Candy! He was way ahead of me then, and still is today.


~to the joy of sharing the garden with the next generation! (for those who may not know, “he” can now be found most days working at the Hart Seed Co)


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