with Master Gardener Carl Wayne


“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”  

~Robert Louis Stevenson

My seed catalogs arrived in the mail in December, and I have just now finished reading them and relishing the possibilities. If I had a few acres and a lot of free help, I would have a large garden with great numbers of vegetables and flowers and many varieties of each. Reminds me of Dr Seuss’ book: Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Seed catalogs can be an education. There are many more varieties of green beans than I have known and planted. I plan to plant French fillet beans this year. They are stringless, tender, and grow along the stem so you can pick a handful with one swipe. No more stringing and snapping and picking one bean at a time. They look like the dainty green beans served whole in restaurants.

The English aka Japanese cucumbers caught my eye last year so I tried them. As advertised they are long, sweet, burpless, almost seedless, and bear prolifically. I will make them a mainstay of my garden.

Did you know potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and cabbages come in various colors and textures? That makes them appear more delectable. I’ll stick with red potatoes for my garden, but yellow and purple are available.

The China Rose radishes are described as large and are large in the pictures in the catalogs, if you can trust the pictures. I have long suspected seed companies hire small people to hold the vegetables for the pictures.

You will see various cabbage colors and textures. Red cabbage and Savoy cabbage are good in salads, as is radicchio which is chicory and not a cabbage. It has a bold flavor which also is good when sliced thin for salads.

My favorite companion plants in a garden which both deter bad bugs and attract pollinators and birds which eat bad bugs are marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers. They are part of an Integrated Pest Management system. I have one marigold per tomato plant, a large area of zinnias, and sunflowers planted in the corners and ends of my garden. They are covered in bees and goldfinches during the summer.


Sunflowers come in a wide palette of colors, forms, textures and heights. I grow a few skyscraper plants, a few of each color, at least two Honey Bear sunflower plants, and several short multi stem varieties for long season production.

Reality has set in. I only have so much space. But I can dream.

Aint God good!

Feel free to send me your questions to Carl Wayne Hardeman, Master Gardener,

at mymaters@yahoo.com.