Seeds! The Beginning of the Harvest


Steve Nauman

I grew up in rural upstate New York and worked in my fathers general store. One of the things I really looked forward to every spring was the big colorful display box of assorted garden seeds that would arrive. I can remember looking at those beautiful packages and reading the planting and growing instructions of almost every different type of vegetable and flower seed packet!

Then while I was working and waiting on customers it was fun to observe their responses to the seed display…… Usually the boys would ask their mother to buy a packet of sweet corn seeds or watermelon seeds. Many of the girls would ask their mother to buy different flower seeds or carrot seeds! 

But, a few of the adult responses to the seed display were really great – just because of some of the seeds! One of the “flower” seeds that was in the display one year was called “Bells Of Ireland“. It is a unique but also strange looking plant, mostly all green, with what looks like little “bells” all up and down the tall spike of the plant. (and it’s supposed to be a flower).

They were right behind the marigold seeds so I knew they’d be spotted quickly. Later that day a man was looking through the seeds, he was picking out a few vegetable seeds and moved over to the flower seeds….. He started flipping through the marigolds and actually froze when he saw “The Bells Of Ireland”! He picked up that packet….. slowly ….. and kept staring at the picture on front of the packet ….. then he turned it sideways ….. then he turned it upside down ….. all the while, never taking his eyes off it! 

What he said next really was unexpected because he turned to me and said: “what are you supposed to do with these, boil them?” I told him they are supposed to be flower seeds not vegetable seeds. He just couldn’t believe something so strange could be a flower! Then he said: “if the wife had those things growing in her flower bed, everybody would think they were big nasty weeds!”

All five packets of those “Bells” remained in the box unsold that year. I guess others had a similar opinion!

The following year there was a new arrival in the seed display box that was a real ‘misfit’ in a country general store ….. five packets of dandelion seeds! I read the information on that packet and it claimed that they were bred to produce few – if any flowers – that’s why they were right in with the other ‘greens’. I couldn’t wait to see what kind of response those seeds would produce!

Within an hour a man was going through the vegetable seeds, when all of a sudden he loudly (almost shouting) says: “for crying out loud! Is this supposed to be a joke? Dandelions? Look out the windows, there are dandelions everywhere you look! Who in their right mind would buy seeds to plant them?  All five packets of dandelion seeds remained unsold that year.

Even Jesus told a story about ‘seeds’, it’s often called ”the parable of the sower”. Mark 4:1-20

If you’re not familiar with the story, I hope you’ll look it up and read it. I’ll close with verse 20, because that’s the goal we should aim for ……..    

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Till Next Time…..

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Steve Nauman

These wonderful posts are written by my good friend Steve Nauman. He lives on a farm in northern Indiana with his wife, Ruth.

He owned and operated a machine shop until 2020. These stories come from the people and experiences that made lasting impressions upon him as he grew up in his father's general store in Upstate NY and later in his own business.