It’s 1943, and everyone says the war will be over soon, ”World War II, that is, but Teresa Marks wonders exactly when that day will come. Her older brother, Jeff, is a fighter pilot doing his bit somewhere out there in the sky. Teresa worries about him, hoping he will get home to Kansas safely.
As a way of speeding Jeff’s return, Teresa and her dad plant victory gardens. The gardens help with the war effort, and Teresa likes sowing seeds and watching them grow. It’s life affirming.
For the past two years, the Markses have planted tomatoes (Jeff’s favorite!), winning taste-testing duels with a curmudgeonly neighbor. But this spring, when the neighbor is hospitalized, Teresa rallies her friends to tend to his garden. She can’t bear to see it plowed under. She even wonders whether she should use her secret for growing better tomatoes on her rival’s plants. But her faith in secret weapons, in victory gardens, in people, and in life itself is shattered as the war rages on overseas and death strikes close to home.