Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

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Wolfsong013
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Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

I was hoping to import some heirloom seeds in, but it seems that most places don't offer phytosanitary certificates. Is there anything I can do on the Japanese side to import seeds? Or is it all dependant on the exporter? I was looking at Baker's Creek, but with the tightening restrictions, I really don't want to risk getting in trouble over some tomato and watermelon seeds.
Thanks for your help!

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

I was also under the impression that you needed a phytosanitary certificate when importing seeds which makes importing small amounts impractically expensive but I believe it was @xxxxtom who brought some back through an airport and declared them as he came through customs without any problems. It's in this post Here so perhaps things are changing.

Natural Harvest have a fair range of foreign seeds and as the name would suggest Heirloom Tomato Farm have a lot of tomato seeds.

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:13 am
I was also under the impression that you needed a phytosanitary certificate when importing seeds which makes importing small amounts impractically expensive but I believe it was @xxxxtom who brought some back through an airport and declared them as he came through customs without any problems. It's in this post Here so perhaps things are changing.

Natural Harvest have a fair range of foreign seeds and as the name would suggest Heirloom Tomato Farm have a lot of tomato seeds.
Thanks for your response! I imported chili seeds last year without a problem. When I went to a seed swap, I heard others who ordered from the same place and has their seeds confiscated, and got nasty letters to come to the post office to apologize for trying to smuggle in restricted goods.

I saw in the MOA website that they started cracking down in April of last year, which is what makes me nervous. I used the MOA search function and while none of the seeds are outright prohibited, everything is listed at needing certs.
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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

:scared-eek: 3 years in the slammer !!!! Well that's certainly tempered my enthusiasm for self importing seeds. Think I'll stick with what is available from Natural Harvest for the time being, certainly didn't realise things had got so serious so thank you so much for bringing that up.

I know that Johnny's Seeds will supply a phytosanitary certificate but last time I asked it wasn't cheap.

Tane.jp have the Bhut Jolokia but I don't think it is as hot as your Carolina Reaper.

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:58 pm
:scared-eek: 3 years in the slammer !!!! Well that's certainly tempered my enthusiasm for self importing seeds. Think I'll stick with what is available from Natural Harvest for the time being, certainly didn't realise things had got so serious so thank you so much for bringing that up.

I know that Johnny's Seeds will supply a phytosanitary certificate but last time I asked it wasn't cheap.

Tane.jp have the Bhut Jolokia but I don't think it is as hot as your Carolina Reaper.
Thanks for recommending Natural Harvest. I was hoping to get some artichokes going at the new house this year and it looks like they have some seeds.

I'm fortunately good with the chilies, since I always save the first and last fruit for seeds. I'm disappointed I couldn't get some heirloom tomatos though, but it's not worth the risk (even if it's just apologies to the Post/police)

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

No worries,

Natural Harvest can be a bit hit and miss with germination but we've learned to save our own seeds for anything we really like from them.

The Franchi artichokes are pretty good from Natural Harvest, whether you'll get a harvest this year or next is a bit hard to say. Quite often artichokes don't produce many flowers until they've been through a winter, so we normally start ours off in the autumn and then harvest the following spring. Down here in Chiba they really don't like the hot humid summers we have and often succumb to some sort of fungal disease in the summer so we grow them as annuals and consider it a lucky surprise if they make it through to the next year.

I used to import a mycorrhizal inoculant from the US and for several years it was fine but then plant protection services changed their rules and suddenly trichoderma harzianum was considered to be the cause of rhizoctonia in sweet potatoes so they banned its import and my next shipment got stopped on it's way in. Long story short, we had to go and apologize to them and promise never to do anything similar again so now with the new rules you pointed out I wouldn't risk doing anything similar. Never really been one for prison food :naughty:

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:17 pm
No worries,

Natural Harvest can be a bit hit and miss with germination but we've learned to save our own seeds for anything we really like from them.

The Franchi artichokes are pretty good from Natural Harvest, whether you'll get a harvest this year or next is a bit hard to say. Quite often artichokes don't produce many flowers until they've been through a winter, so we normally start ours off in the autumn and then harvest the following spring. Down here in Chiba they really don't like the hot humid summers we have and often succumb to some sort of fungal disease in the summer so we grow them as annuals and consider it a lucky surprise if they make it through to the next year.

I used to import a mycorrhizal inoculant from the US and for several years it was fine but then plant protection services changed their rules and suddenly trichoderma harzianum was considered to be the cause of rhizoctonia in sweet potatoes so they banned its import and my next shipment got stopped on it's way in. Long story short, we had to go and apologize to them and promise never to do anything similar again so now with the new rules you pointed out I wouldn't risk doing anything similar. Never really been one for prison food :naughty:
That's good they let you just apologize and move on. I always worry about being the one they would want to make an example of.

I grew Halloween pumpkins last year and I struggled with powder mildew from the humidity. I didn't know that artichokes would have a similar problem. I guess I'll try it out and see what goes wrong for next time.

Luckily tane.jp had some black tomatoes which is what I wanted to import. They aren't exactly the same, but I heard the flavor should be similar (and I'm growing mainly for the wow factor). Its good to know that Natural Harvest has lower germination rates, although I try to keep seeds from anything that can be regrown for the next year. I'm just a hobbiest, so I can't make the family too mad with too many seed purchases!

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Zasso Nouka »

If seeds from Natural Harvest come inside foil sealed packs then generally they are fine, it's the ones they have divided up themselves and put in little ziplock bags that generally have lower germination rates.

As for artichokes, you might be fine in Tochigi or not. A neighbour just a few kilometres away from us has lovely artichoke bushes that do just fine, they are underneath some sugi trees so somehow that gives them a microclimate that offers some sort of protection. I have no idea what, maybe not so much direct rain or something else entirely but theirs never have any problems at all. Hopefully yours will be fine.

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by starting_the_dream »

If seeds from Natural Harvest come inside foil sealed packs then generally they are fine, it's the ones they have divided up themselves and put in little ziplock bags that generally have lower germination rates.
This is what happened to us. We ordered some Halloween pumpkin seeds and got 10(!) seeds in a ziploc. I was quite frustrated with only 10 seeds, but then only 3 germinated. ¥1,000 including shipping for 3 plants! Glad I saved some seeds.

Is there any way to know which ones they repackage? I don't remember seeing anything on the website or ordering form.

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Re: Importing Heirloom Seeds (Importing in General)

Post by Wolfsong013 »

starting_the_dream wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:54 am
If seeds from Natural Harvest come inside foil sealed packs then generally they are fine, it's the ones they have divided up themselves and put in little ziplock bags that generally have lower germination rates.
This is what happened to us. We ordered some Halloween pumpkin seeds and got 10(!) seeds in a ziploc. I was quite frustrated with only 10 seeds, but then only 3 germinated. ¥1,000 including shipping for 3 plants! Glad I saved some seeds.

Is there any way to know which ones they repackage? I don't remember seeing anything on the website or ordering form.
If you're looking for decorative Halloween pumpkins, I bought a pack from the home center near the flower seeds. The package was 10 seeds for 400 yen, but every one of them germinated. I had so many huge pumpkins last year and I had trouble keeping the vines from the tanbo. I recommend planting them later than the package states, because all my pumpkins were ready in late August.

I'll send a photo of the pack when I get home, if your interested