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Local Sources for South Asian Veg Seeds and Plants?

Local Sources for South Asian Veg Seeds and Plants?
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  • Local Sources for South Asian Veg Seeds and Plants?

    Post #1 - March 28th, 2017, 10:19 am
    Post #1 - March 28th, 2017, 10:19 am Post #1 - March 28th, 2017, 10:19 am
    I'm looking for seeds of some vegetables used in Indian cooking – ridge gourd (Hindi: turai), snake gourd (Hindi: chichinda) and probably a few others. These veggies are eaten throughout Asia, but I think sometimes slightly different varieties are grown in different regions. I'm most interested in the Indian ones, but I'd like to hear of stores with a decent selection of any Asian vegetable seeds. I know I've seen such seed packets in the past at Chicago markets, but can't remember where (I think Golden Pacific might have been one). There are online sources, but I want to get them locally. Does anyone have suggestions other than "look on Devon"? Also, do any local greenhouses or garden sales have a good selection of (South) Asian vegetable seedlings? City preferred, but suburban leads are appreciated too. Thanks.
  • Post #2 - March 29th, 2017, 6:14 am
    Post #2 - March 29th, 2017, 6:14 am Post #2 - March 29th, 2017, 6:14 am
    Hi Rene,

    Meinke's nursery in Skokie carries a ood selection of South Asian plants and seedlings.
  • Post #3 - March 30th, 2017, 12:37 pm
    Post #3 - March 30th, 2017, 12:37 pm Post #3 - March 30th, 2017, 12:37 pm
    Thank you for the lead. I've never been to Meinke's (I believe it's officially in Niles), but it sounds perfect. They even brag a bit about their selection on their website: "customers come in to our greenhouse specially for our selection of bitter melon (goya or karela)." Karela is another we'll be looking for. I hope to visit Meinke's in a few weeks and will try to report back.
  • Post #4 - March 30th, 2017, 12:44 pm
    Post #4 - March 30th, 2017, 12:44 pm Post #4 - March 30th, 2017, 12:44 pm
    I've never purchased any South Asian plants at Meineke's, but I can vouch for the quality of their stuff. I buy most of my plants there. It's a great place.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - May 8th, 2017, 10:42 am
    Post #5 - May 8th, 2017, 10:42 am Post #5 - May 8th, 2017, 10:42 am
    Rene G wrote:
    Ssharma wrote:Hi Rene,

    Meinke's nursery in Skokie carries a ood selection of South Asian plants and seedlings.

    Thank you for the lead. I've never been to Meinke's (I believe it's officially in Niles), but it sounds perfect. They even brag a bit about their selection on their website: "customers come in to our greenhouse specially for our selection of bitter melon (goya or karela)." Karela is another we'll be looking for. I hope to visit Meinke's in a few weeks and will try to report back.

    The bitter melon selection at Meinke's is indeed impressive: "regular" karela, a long variety, and the smooth-skinned "Chinese" bitter melon. Indians made up a significant fraction of Meinke's customers yesterday.

    Meinke's has other Asian veggies like opo, long beans, and something identified as Indian hot pepper. Their selection of capsicums is very good. I'm sorry I didn't buy an Indian hot pepper seedling, but my space is extremely limited and I had already bought Thai chilies and a Carolina Reaper.

    Now I'm on the hunt for ridge gourd, snake gourd, and tinda plants (it's getting a little late for seeds). News of any sightings would be appreciated.
  • Post #6 - June 5th, 2017, 11:34 am
    Post #6 - June 5th, 2017, 11:34 am Post #6 - June 5th, 2017, 11:34 am
    Rene G wrote:Now I'm on the hunt for ridge gourd, snake gourd, and tinda plants (it's getting a little late for seeds). News of any sightings would be appreciated.

    It turns out Meinke's had ridge gourd and snake gourd (as well as drumstick – moringa) all along. I asked specifically for them a few weeks ago and was told they didn't have either. I returned a few days ago and was lucky enough to talk with José, who seems to know everything about plants and about Meinke's. This is the guy to ask for if other employees can't answer your questions. And thanks again to Ssharma for the tip. Meinke's really is a great resource for unusual plants (see this post for a bit on their Mexican culinary plants).

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