Look What I Found: Vegetable and Herb Seeds From India

Today started out sunny and beautiful, so out to the garden I went. I dashed out and into the car so fast, I forgot to take my methi seeds that I had soaked overnight in a mug of water (it helps them sprout) and left them on the kitchen counter.

No worries–instead of running right back home to get them, I settled in and thinned the mizuna, planted some more spinach, replanted some carrots, planted some cilantro seeds and replanted some beets.

Then, I weeded and finally sauntered home to pick up the methi seeds. Zak wanted to go out with me, so while I was waiting for him to get ready, I decided to wander the Internet and see if there were any seed companies that offered Indian varieties of herbs and seeds.

Last year or the year before when I looked I found nothing, but today, I found Seeds of India, a company that offers seeds for traditional Indian vegetables such as bottle gourd, snake gourd, winged beans and a huge array of chili peppers. And, happily, methi seeds, and tulsi (holy basil) seeds. (I have always used methi seeds that I bought as spices in the market, but I’ve always had a fairly low germination rate working that way, so I wanted to get seeds that were specifically meant to be planted in the year in which I bought them!)

The website doesn’t look like much, but the varieties of vegetable and herb seeds offered makes up for a lack of design sense. The chili offerings include the long, meaty green chilies that are used to make mirchi pakora–battered and fried chilies, as well as some of the typical fresh and dried chilies found in Indian markets.

Of course, I had to make an order, though I anticipate making a larger order next winter so I can start a variety of eggplant and chili pepper plants for next summer. I ended up picking out packets of cucumber, zucchini, and methi to try out this year.

As soon as the seeds are planted and germinated, I will keep you posted on my findings.


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  1. Thanks to your long-ago post on methi, I ordered fenugreek seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds (http://rareseeds.com) and had an almost 100% germination rate – without any soaking. I really, really like Baker Creek – they have a treasure trove of rare varieties from all over the world.

    If you’re looking for Asian seeds, I also highly recommend Kitazawa Seed Company (http://www.kitazawaseed.com). They specialize in Japanese and Chinese vegetables, but they also have Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and assorted other seeds. They carry four varieties of Thai basil, and two varieties of Thai Holy Basil, and I just planted some of their winged beans, out of spur-of-the-moment curiosity. Plus, Kitazawa ships really quickly.

    Comment by annoyedwabbit — May 6, 2011 #

  2. I love my readers! Wabbit, I’m making an order at Kitazawa right now!

    Comment by Barbara — May 6, 2011 #

  3. I’ve successfully grown methi just by sprouting the fenugreek seeds you use for cooking and that can be bought in quantity in Indian groceries. It’s a legume – and like any other legume takes well to sprouting.

    However I have found it’s a fast-growing crop that needs to be harvested when ready or quickly bolts. It also seem to need lots of water. Eventually (not being a very adept veg gardener) I just resorted back to buying it at the farmer’s market. But it was fun to grow to see if I could do it.

    Comment by Diane — May 6, 2011 #

  4. Botanical Interests also sells fenugreek seeds for planting.

    As soon as mine sprouted, the squirrels dug them all up. I was quite disappointed.

    Comment by Jocelyn — May 6, 2011 #

  5. Diane–that’s how I’ve always grown mine–with seeds meant to be used as a spice. Mine didn’t bolt, but then, it wasn’t very warm when I planted it last.

    Jocelyn–my squirrels have two huge oak trees to eat from, so they tend to leave my other stuff alone. OTOH–the adorable family of chipmunks that live in my flower garden like to dig my flowers up in search of the acorns they buried in the fall…..grr. But they look so cute I can’t stay mad at them for long. Besides, I always catch their depredations before any flowers are killed, so I can forgive them.

    Comment by Barbara — May 6, 2011 #

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