Study Guide

Seedfolks Chapter 6

By Paul Fleischman

Chapter 6


  • Our next narrator, Sam, sure does have a sight to see: people are clearing trash out of the vacant lot.
  • Sam is super excited about growing a garden in the lot because he really likes to help people. Sounds like a great hobby to us.
  • Our man Sam used to work toward world peace, but now he's focusing all his energies on Cleveland.
  • And Sam's #1 goal is to get people talking to each other and forgetting about racial stereotypes. In talking about race, Sam lets us know that he's a white Jewish man.
  • We also learn that he's 78 years old. This means Sam is a bit too old to do hard labor in the garden, so he hires a Puerto Rican teenager to help him out. In addition to paying the teenager, Sam also gives him a row to grow something of his own. The vegetable of choice? Pumpkins.
  • Sam tells the teenager that he can sell the pumpkins at Halloween, so they'll be a nice moneymaker.
  • So the plants are off to a start, which is great. But there are also a few problems in this garden, and Sam is ready to let us know just what they are:
  • Problem 1: Water. You see, Sam is worried because seeds need water, but there isn't an easy source in the community garden. So what's to be done? Well, Sam doesn't tell us the answer yet, but he does hint at a "contest" he starts, so maybe that'll solve this water trouble (6.4).
  • Problem 2: Segregation. According to Sam, all the different ethnic groups have divvied up the land and don't mix and mingle together. Sam wants to see people making friends across different cultures, so this whole segregation thing bums him out.
  • Problem 3: Trash. Yep, garbage is still a problem in the garden. Apparently, some people in the surrounding buildings like to throw their trash out their windows and into the garden. Looks like this community garden needs a "No Littering" campaign.
  • Problem 4: Fences. One day, a homeless man who used to sleep in the vacant lot tears up some of the plants. Sam tells us that this event has lots of people putting up fences, "KEEP OUT" signs, and even barbed wire (6.7).
  • So the garden sure does have some problems to work through. And it's not clear if Sam thinks this garden is going to be able to turn things around.