Finally! They have arrived! They are here! If 10 years ago you would have told me that one day I would be as excited as a kid in a toy store about seeds… But here I was, opening the first package with a big smile on my face in anticipation of what was inside. I had the same reaction for the second and there is a 3rd on the way. Let me explain.
For the garden rehabilitation project I work on, the most pressing input we needed was seeds. It is quite hard to find seeds in the Philippines, especially herb seeds (we decided to focus on herbs first because 1) they grow fast here and 2) they’re a very good source of income for the garden). You can’t just go into a store (or 15) and pick them up from the shelves, no no no. Searching for seed providers online also proved fruitless. I suppose it is possible to find some seeds (mostly vegetables and mostly hybrid) but for the time and effort I’d have to put into it, I might as well just hop on a plane to Bangkok and fill my pockets with the seeds available there (which I have been advised to do several times because it’s just easier).
Although flying to Bangkok sounds appealing, it wasn’t quite possible at the time so I ordered from France and the U.S. instead. I ordered them back at the end of February. I ordered seeds from 4 different suppliers (2 in the US and 2 in France), and asked my mum and mother-in-law if they could kindly (re)package them and forward them on to me. In their kindness they both indulged (thank you very very much!) and Ann’s mum even included some additional seeds of her own which is great.
Thing is, unbeknownst to me, the postal service here doesn’t deliver packages to the address written on the package, you have to go collect it. Of course, no postman leaves a note to let you know that there is a package waiting for you at the post office, you just have to go there once a while to check. The package from the U.S. had probably been waiting at the post office for a few weeks.
For the seeds from France, I had asked my mum to send two separate envelopes and to post them a week apart. Let’s just say that I wanted it to be discreet as it’s kinda not entirely playing by the rule to import seeds from abroad without a proper authorisation…Being only culinary herb seeds, I didn’t feel too bad about it but technically, I’d like to point out that both my mum and mother-in-law have partaken in some kind of international contraband…but it’s for a good cause.
I had asked my mum to just put a book in the package so that it doesn’t feel like a bunch of seed packets in there. Well, she took it a step further…she proceeded to carve out the inside of a book and stuffed it with the seeds… How old is that trick! A bit over-the-top but pretty cool.
I may have actually ordered a few too many but the idea behind having several varieties of the same herbs is that as a demonstration garden, it’s nice to show different examples. Also I wasn’t too sure which would grow better in the local low-land tropical climate.
So I got a great selection of herbs to work with and plant in the garden. Several varieties of basil, dill and parsley as well as coriander, oregano, chamomile, peppermint and a few others. We already started planting them in seed trays and some of them germinated in 2 or 3 days. Soon we’ll transplant either directly in the ground (for production) or in pots (for demonstration. I got in touch with some local restaurants and several expressed an interest in ordering herbs from us as long as it can be regular. It might be a bit tricky to achieve that over the next 6 months but if we can pull it off it would greatly improve the financial sustainability of the garden.