Moving from the city to the country was literally the best thing that could have happened to my family. We’ve got space to run, woods to explore, and lots and lots of room to grow our garden.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

My mother in law started a tradition with my son by helping him plant a garden last year and it was so fun to watch John’s excitement as the seeds he planted began to grow and then the joy that filled him when he finally got to eat the fruits of his labor.

While our garden last year was a big success, this year has been a flop. The constant heat and blazing sun have done what I’m afraid is irreversible damage to our garden. First to go this season were our tomato plants and knowing that there wasn’t time to start them from seed again, I turned to the internet to order some live plants.

If you’ve recently ordered seeds online, you’ve probably done your research and know where the seeds are coming from and exactly what it is you’re getting. If you haven’t recently ordered seeds but some have shown up in the mail at your house, you need to be aware that the New York State Department of Agriculture is warning against planning unsolicited seeds.

According to the New York State Commissioner of Agriculture, several New Yorkers have reported receiving unsolicited packages, allegedly sent from China which contains mysterious seeds. In a statement issued on Monday, New York State Commissioner of  Agriculture Richard Ball explained that these mystery packages appear to be coming from China and that they're marked as if they contain jewelry.

Not only should you not handle the seeds, but you should keep them out of reach of your kids and immediately reach out to the USDA.

People who receive seeds should not plant or handle the seeds. They should store them safely in a place children and pets cannot access and email USDA immediately at erich.l.glasgow@usda.gov for instructions. Seeds imported into the United States are rigorously tested to ensure quality and prevent introduction of invasive species, insects and diseases. We will continue to monitor this issue and will pass along guidance as it is received from USDA.