I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Friday, January 8, 2010

The waiting is the hardest part

Actually it looks like the waiting may be over.

This is what 10 seeds of Murraya koenigii, or Curry Leaf Tree, looked like on December 11, 2009, about 45 minutes after receiving them in the mail from Horizon Herbs.

This is what they still look like on January 8, 2010, so I didn't take another picture.

Curry Leaf seeds are notoriously finicky about germination, from everything I've read, and despite heroic efforts to plant them immediately, keep them warm with a heat mat, placate them with song (not really), they are apparently dead (or do they really take this long to germinate?) They may have have been deceased when I received them, but they still looked a little moist, which is required for seed of this tropical species to be viable.

The ideal method of germination, I think, is to have them fall off the plant when ripe directly into a planting pot, and then hope for the best. If you live in Sri Lanka or India this is not a big deal, but the Mid-A ain't neither.

We have had one of the most disgusting winters I can remember. And it just got started. Got cold early. Has stayed below freezing at least part of the day for weeks. Dumped 21 freaking inches of snow on us in one day (and I HATED every flake). I want me some global warming!

Don't get all worked up, I didn't plant the seeds outside, they are inside on a light stand with a heat mat. I just needed an excuse to complain.

Update 1/9/10: See here for the culprit!

The whole game plan behind growing a Curry Leaf plant was that the leaf is a key ingredient in many Indian dishes, and I would like to start trying more of them at home. Curry Leaf tree, the real deal, has absolutely nothing to do with the curry powders we buy at Giant, Safeway, or even Whole Paycheck. Those reportedly started out as Brit bastardizations of the spices used in Indian cooking, and even though I really like curry powder, it just doesn't hold a candle to Curry Leaf.

Almost forgot, I'm also trying to root a small cutting from a curry leaf branch I bought at an area Asian market. Dipped the cutting in some rooting hormone, on two different occasions even, but the branch wasn't the freshest, so this could be pointless.

So the first seed starting of the season appears to be a dismal failure. Not to worry, I am laying plans for starting some other herb seeds as we post, just to make myself feel better, but I may just have to break down and order a Curry Leaf plant (aack- quitter!) from Logee's soon...


  1. wow! i really admire your efforts here! i use curry leaf a lot, but wouldnt have the perseverance to grow it in this climate! so i just buy my fresh curry leaves from the asian store (in virginia). absolutely love its flavor! curry leaf rice is my favorite thing :)

  2. Thanks, Veggie Belly, I am going to grow this if it kills me (once we get out of the sub-freezing hell the winter gods have foisted upon us). I understand some Indian grocers carry small plants, so that could be an option too. Otherwise I'm on a wait list for seedlings and/or plants from a source in New York. If the cutting works, I'll definitely post about it.