Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks — and we can now provide viable neem seeds year-round!
I was intrigued by the exceptionally good reviews for a grower in India who was selling neem seeds in the U.S. We all “know” that neem seeds are only viable for about 30 days. He was selling them in January when they definitely shouldn’t be any good. But the reviews (and the price) convinced me it was worth a try.
I ordered them and am delighted to report that it was the best buy we’ve made in a long time. We didn’t get the 100% germination that we would have expected in June, but watching 26 of 50 seeds sprout in February was nearly a miracle — on a $5.00 purchase.
After several emails back and forth, we’re comfortable that he will be able to provide seeds that germinate for our customers. We haven’t tried to set things up to get seeds here and then ship them to their final destination — that would just slow things down and probably reduce germination rates.
As always, prepare your pots (or flats) in advance so you can put the neem seeds in the ground as quickly as possible. We soaked them overnight in a diluted solution of Neptune fish emulsion. We had a flat of 50 pots waiting for the seeds, so we watered in the soil well and then placed the seeds on top. Rather than digging them in, we sprinkle a small amount of dry potting soil over the top of the seeds — just enough that you couldn’t see the “bump.”
We’ll keep you updated as the seeds continue to germinate and plan on having neem sprouts available early this summer. (There’s too much going on in the greenhouse right now to take on yet another new product — we’ll you keep you updated on those too!)