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Do any of the Chinatown grocery stores sell garden seeds?

small h Apr 30, 2011 02:39 PM

My mail order didn't come through, and I'm looking for edamame seeds to grow. I feel I've seen them for sale at a big Chinese supermarket in Queens, but has anyone spied them in Manhattan?

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  1. f
    fourunder RE: small h Apr 30, 2011 09:41 PM

    It's been a while since i have actually been in the store, but there is a market on West side of Mulberry Street between Bayard and Canal that is below street level. I distinctly remember seeing a variety of seed packets on the wall near the entrance. Sorry, but i do not know the name of the store. Maybe someone can jump in with the name and you could call them .....

    Asia Market
    71 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder
      small h RE: fourunder May 1, 2011 03:00 PM

      Thanks. I'll take a walk over and check it out.

    2. t
      tazerowe RE: small h May 2, 2011 05:34 AM

      Hong Kong, the big store at Elizabeth and Hester(?), has a small selection in the back, BUT I have had poor results with them two years in a row. I currently have their thai chile seeds in a pot but after 3-4 weeks, no sprouts.

      There is also a florist on Center Street just north of Red Egg you might want to try. I am not sure if they sell seeds, but last year they had some interesting plants - I bought heaven facing chile, for example.

      Hong Kong Supermarket
      157 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

      2 Replies
      1. re: tazerowe
        small h RE: tazerowe May 2, 2011 07:17 AM

        Oh, excellent. Thank you. Pepper seeds take forever to sprout at my house, so you may see some action yet.

        1. re: small h
          tazerowe RE: small h May 24, 2011 11:39 AM

          Any, with apologies to Hong Kong Grocery for my lack of faith and a shout out to small h, I can report that we have sprouts. It took 8-10 weeks, but they are a few now.

      2. b
        bdachow RE: small h May 2, 2011 11:19 AM

        I think I remember seeing seeds downstairs at Kam Man on Canal. Might want to ring them just in case.

        Kam Man
        200 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

        2 Replies
        1. re: bdachow
          small h RE: bdachow May 2, 2011 11:55 AM

          I will do that, thanks. I've been to Kam Man many times, but never downstairs!

          Kam Man
          200 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: small h
            bdachow RE: small h May 2, 2011 12:26 PM

            Oooohhhh, think it's the best part, I love trinkety knick knack things and all the dried instant noodles and teas are down there.

        2. rifkind81 RE: small h May 2, 2011 11:53 AM

          Whole Foods Tribeca has them. Right by the entry-way on the right.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rifkind81
            small h RE: rifkind81 May 2, 2011 11:54 AM

            Yes, I've seen seeds at the Union Square Whole Foods, just not the kind I'm looking for. But thanks for the reminder - I'll be by there today and will check to see if they have anything new.

          2. dave_c RE: small h May 24, 2011 11:45 AM

            Another option is to buy a regular package of soybeans and plant those.
            I usually sprout my own mung and soybeans from the food packaged beans.
            I've never tried planting them, but at least those packaged beans are viable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dave_c
              jumpingmonk RE: dave_c Jun 23, 2011 11:50 AM

              The problem is that a lot of seeds sold in Chinatown are from chinese companies (or in some cases California based companies with Chinese owners). So the seeds they are selling are often for the kind of climate conditions that are to be found in China (varios parts) or California. We don't have the same climate, so seed that works for them many not work for us. Add on the warning that some of the packers aren't great at making sure the seed in the packet is the seed that is supposed to be in it (I once bought 5 pakages of hyacinth bean seed from one of those store and out of the 60 plus seeds I got, a grand total of 3 were actually hyacinth beans, all the rest were pole beans (different species, different genus). besides the above mentioned places, there's a little convience store on Catherine just past market ( I think) that has some veggie seeds. They actually carry a few odd things since their seed comes from SE asia. For example they are the only place in Ctwon I know of that sometime sells seed of the big version of winter melon i.e. the one that is actually sold in the stores (you can try planting the pits from those but they are usually sold not fully ripe, so the seed is often no good (same with bitter melons hairy melons and a lot of other cucurbits.)
              As for gowing bagged soybeans (or any other bagged seed). It sort of depended. First off all, not EVERY brand of bean will germinate. Some packers irradiate thier beans (to control pests). and those will germinate quite poorly, if at all. More importantly merely germinating isn't enough in some cases. Some beans are day length sensitive which means they need a specific series of nights and days of a certain length before they will start flowering. Our day lengths are not the same as China so this can be a problem. If you plant such beans in you garden they'll sprout just fine, and grow quite luxuriantly, but they will never actually flower (and no flowers= no seeds). What percentage it of bean have this problem varies from bean to bean (for example out of the 20 or so companies who sell packages of rice beans in the Chinatowns a grand total of ONE use a variety that will set seed here.) As someone who has been growing edamame from bag beans (well I was until the chipmunks came along) I can only provide you with the tips I learned for finding a usuable one. The tips I can give cover the black skinned soybean with the often green insides (I actually prefer the taste of soymilk made from these, so they are what I plant. There is a chance (based on some experiments I did they may make better edamame as well.) Black soybeans sold in Chinatown usually break down into several types but the two basic are big dull black beans and smaller shiny black ones. You want to make sure you get the small shiny ones, they will grow here, the big dull black ones won't. Ideally you want to try and find the kind that are kind of darkish silvery, like the color of graphite (pencil lead) or polished hematite (that's what I have been working with) the brand I have been getting them under is "Peony Mark". Not only are they more or less the right type but thier stuff is pretty gentically diverse (for commericial beans), so you can get a little adapability if things turn strange. Sow them directly into the ground in spring (NEVER pre soak soybeans if you want to plant them, they'll take in so much water they'll rot before the germinate. Take steps to block Chipmunks. hope this helps.

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