I need your help. I get a lot of weird comments and requests through my contact form on this blog. Most of them are demands for plants and seeds which I promptly ignore. After a few years of having an “open door” to the Internet you quickly become jaded at the hardship notes that accompany the requests for free stuff.
Today, I received the following message:
"hi my name is kevin .i live in a nuresy home. i am asking plesae for a little help. like a dontation of biggest tomato seeds. plesae. this would make some old people happy. plesae. address 417 industrial dr oberlin la 70655 ph 337 639 2934"
I don’t know what it was about the message that made me Google the address and phone number to see if it was an actual nursing home. I don’t know what made me call the number, but I did.
“[Indecipherable] this is Karen.”
“Hi, my name is MrBrownThumb. I’m from the Internet.” [I always wanted to say that!]
“Did Kevin Email you something crazy?”
“Uh-I was just calling to confirm that a Kevin was a resident there.”
“Yeah, he lives here. We get calls from all over the place. He Emails everyone on the Internet.”
“He asked me for tomato seeds for a garden.”
[Laughing] “I swear we’re going to end up with a tropical rainforest back there because of him.”
“So there is a garden?”
“Yeah, there’s a garden out back. Don’t nobody care about that garden but Kevin. But he does have a garden here. Some of the nurse staff helps once in a while.”
“So, he’s legit?”
[Laughing] “He works our nerves, but he’s legit. The other day he came with his mom and a wheelbarrow of stuff for his garden.”
During the rest of the phone call I learned Kevin in a 45-year-old resident of St. Francis Nursing Home who uses his own money to plant a garden there, and spends his free time soliciting for free plant material. His requests for plant material and the reactions the staff get through phone calls is something they find great humor in.
So, I’m asking for your help to tomato bomb Kevin in Louisiana. I’m going to send him seeds, and I’ve put a request on Twitter and Facebook for someone in Louisiana to help me get him some actual tomato plants. Perhaps someone can even pay Kevin and his garden a visit and see if there’s anything else that could be sent to him that would be of use.
Now I’m turning to my garden blog in the hopes that maybe this request gets more attention and he gets the “biggest” tomatoes possible. I’ve never asked the Internet for anything, and I really need this right now. The magic of Caine’s Arcade is leaving me and I desperately need to see something good happen in this world.
If you would like to help fulfill Kevin’s seed request you can mail him some seeds at the address below, but I hope someone can get some actual plants too.
Kevin Gatte C/O St. Francis Nursing Home
417 Industrial Drive
Oberlin, LA 70655
If you pledge to send him seeds leave a message below. Ideally, any plants should come from within the state to avoid any issues with plants or soil crossing state lines. Similarly, some consideration should be taken in regards to the seeds sent so that something that is manageable in our area will not turn into an ecological disaster in Louisiana.
My #tomatobomb seed package consists of various tomato and basil seeds. I've included the 'Green Zebra' seeds I saved from a tomato I stole from the Cook County Jail that I've used to start the Chicago Seed Library with.
Update: The following have pledged to donate materials to the Kevin and his garden
Tomato/Flower SeedsA Succulent Life
In the Garden Online
The Garden Faerie
The Garden Hoard
Between The Limes
Jenn's Gardening Spot
The Kat's Garden
Science Museum of Virginia via @KatieGantt
Miss Lady Bug
From Austin 2 Texas
Mosquito Creek Farm
Bucket of Mud
From the Garden Bench
Tangled Branches: Cultivated
How Does My Garden Grow
Perennial Harmony Garden Shop
Garden Tools/Plants/ProductsMy Skinny Garden
Tuff Guard Garden Hose
Organic Mechanics Potting Soil
Baker Creek Seeds
Question and Planter
Update 2: May 16th.
After a couple of comments this morning from nurses who work with Kevin I called the home again and spoke to Nurse Carol who commented below. I've learned that Kevin is in a wheelchair and has a few container gardens, and a raised bed Carol's husband helped build to make his garden more accessible.
They're going to work on getting us pictures of the garden. Nurse Carol says that the mood at the nursing home is one of excitement as they've been reading what you all have said below. In particular because Kevin had posted to another garden blog asking for seeds and was told, "It's the real world, stop begging and get a job!" I don't know what blog this happened at, and I hope to never find out. THIS is the real world and in the real world there are still good people willing to help out someone in need.
I'll update with pictures as they come in. Thank you to everyone who has offered to help.