We asked, You acted.

French Breakfast Radish!

When we first arrived in Samoa we realized that our vegan/vegetarian diets would not be possible in Samoa… immediately. We sent emails, asked for packages, made phone calls, and

Spicy Lettuce!

skype calls, all asking for seeds. We are still receiving seeds to this day, and it is absolutely wonderful. Our host family initially said that they were happy to give us some

Corn... It doesn't get any fresher than this!

land to make our palagi garden.  Now they are thrilled and take and active role in its upkeep.

Many, if not most of the things we are growing are not commonly found in the supermarkets in

Orange/Yellow Marigold! (Broccoli in the middle)

Apia, forget the local village stores. Our home garden has raised awareness of other vegetables in the village, prompted curiosity in farming/gardening by people of all ages, and served as an educational area for people to learn about gardening. People have stopped in the road to peek through the trees, some come all the way in and ask questions, and

Super beans invading out window!

others take a full hands on approach and help in the planting, transplanting, care, and harvesting. Most importantly of all, our daily meals are rich in vegetables and closer to the diet that we followed at home in the

Can you spot the 3 Roma Tomatoes?

states. We have had success right next to failure. We are not sure why, but certain areas of our garden are experiencing extremely slow growth and withered looking leaves by

Chives, Sage, Samoan Basil, (2 types) and Mint

creepers. (pumpkin, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber) Other parts of our garden are doing extremely well regarding these same plants. Perhaps there is something in the

A gourd of sorts... not really sure what Karen planted here. Sugar snap and Pole beans in the back!

ground that we are not aware of. However, overall our vegetables, thanks to your kindness, and people like you, are growing very well supplying food to our plates and educating the local society. Among our more uncommon vegetables is radish. In the states roughly everyone knows the little red bulbs that we find in salads. While ours grow to be a bit larger due to conditions and variety, they still taste roughly the same. When Samoan people see them growing they say “ WOW, I have never seen a red carrot before!” … ( usually in Samoan) Even when we tell them it is called latisi they still have no knowledge of the radish. Fair enough, many people do not like this slightly spicy tuber, but here there is an overall unawareness of it. It turns out that radish goes amazingly well in curry, be it Indian, Japanese, or Samoan. Yet, it is relatively unknown but grows extremely well here. Last week my students did especially well on their homework and tests. After reviewing the grades my pule / principle said “Wow, thank you God”. I looked at him and said. “No, do not thank God. Thank the students for studying and thank the teachers for doing a good job teaching.” With that said {again} Karen and I are extremely happy and thankful for the seed donations and the food on our plates from friends like you. THANKS!!! ☺

PS. For a real Samoan experience imagine this. Karen doing the dishes, the running water is full of bits of dirt and vegetation due to yesterday’s rain and a centipede comes out. If you forget what a centipede looks like or does, go check out our previous post on BUGS!

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10 Responses to We asked, You acted.

  1. I think I recognize a few of those seeds that Rich and I sent. Nice pics. I would think that since Samoa has such a great growing climate, that every family would have a garden. No dice?

    Glad you posted the pictures. I’ve been wondering how the plants were coming along. Obviously, very nicely.

  2. Carly says:


  3. Lynne says:

    The garden looks awesome! Do you still need more seeds for yourselves or for other people who would like to garden also? If so, I will send some when I send some books.

    • ntikaren says:

      Hey Lynne. We are always open to some more seeds. We are helping Karen’s primary school get their garden going and they are looking to us for the seeds. Thanks for anything and everything that you send!

      • Lynne says:

        What kinds of seeds are most wanted? Out of curiousity, are you able to water your garden or do you just rely on rain?

      • ntikaren says:

        Corn, Lettuces, Beans of any kind, radish, potato. It seems everything will try to grow here. Those listed above have proven to be doing very well.

        I installed an outside spigot solely for the purpose of watering the garden. We water our garden when needed. However, we get plenty of rain. I think we get 3x – 4x as much rain as you get in NY. Anyway, it usually rains every night.

  4. Charmaine says:

    Hi coming over in a couple of weeks would love to see your garden and bring you some seeds – where abouts are you? Cheers Charmaine

    • ntikaren says:

      Hi Charmaine. Our garden is winding down. We only have some herbs growing now. We are almost finished with our tour of service here in Samoa. So, our garden is not what it used to be. Thanks for your offer to bring seeds. If you have some specific questions about our previous (large) or current (tiny) garden please let us know.


  5. Jed says:

    We are moving to American Samoa in the next month. I was curious what seeds you had the best luck with. We would really like to grow as much of our own vegetables as we can and are planning on bringing seeds. Any advice on what to take would be so appreciated.

    • ntikaren says:

      We had success with sweet corn, cherry tomatoes (NOT any of the large variety) cucumber, squash though they were very small, sweet and hot peppers, SAGE got out of control, thyme, mint, oregano, lemon grass, lettuce (spicy varieties did the best, but were often overwhelming), sweet potato.

      Also, there are a few million kinds of fruit that grow in the Samoan archipelago which will grow by you dropping a seed in the ground.
      The most difficult part was keeping the plants hydrated throughout the day. With all that said, it’s been over 3 years since we left Samoa and chances are I am forgetting something.

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