Guess how much it cost to mail two seeds

I went to Post Office today to mail a package and a letter envelope with two bitter melon seeds inside for Tippy.
I have not mailed a letter for a long time, my last box of envelopes lasted for over decade. I used that box up sometimes ago and had no desire to buy another box which may out last me. So I recycled a business envelope , those with from who send to plastic windows. I was planning to weigh and put some stamps on accordingly then throw it in the mail box. But since I am at the post office , I just let the postal lady weight and tell me how much it costs. I could pay the package and the letter all together. Make sense, right? The postal lady weighted the envelope and said it is $5.xx. I thought I heard wrong and asked her how much. She said it was not paper inside (of the envelope, ). I was not mailing a letter. I was mailing a merchandise. According to the(usps) book, I have to pay merchandise rate which starts at $5+some dimes and nickels. Of course I disagreed. I didn’t mail the seeds to Tippy today.

What do you all think? Should I pay $5+ dollar to send two seeds? I know some member(s) here works for post office, I would like to here his reasonings too so I can be educated
Here are the seeds I try to mail

The post office has become truly horrible with anything that doesn’t fit on a flat rate priority mail box. You really don’t want to see how much a 5 pound package costs if it is too large for a flat rate package, and yet they have no issues with 50 pounds on a flat rate box.

having said that I would just fold a few sheets of paper together, make a hole through them, and put the seeds there. As long as it feels like paper they’ll be happy about it.


I would just put the seeds in the envelope and mail them. Whatever the current rate is.


you need to use media mail

I don’t think seeds qualify for media mail.

That would be mail fraud

Include a thank you note. Thats paper


It does if you include a pamphlet :wink:

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You probably wouldn’t want seeds to be mailed in a normal envelope anyway - there’s a good chance they might be damaged going through the sorting equipment (smashed by a set of rollers).

I assume there is a good way to do it… Fedco and Bakers Creek send mine in bubble mailers. If you went that route and used it would probably be a little more than $3.


I somehow doubt the mail swat team will kick in his door. Just include a quick letter in addition to the seeds. The seeds mustve got stuck to the back of it somehow. That darn parakeet makes such a mess.

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"6-1/8 inches by 11–1/2 inches by 1/4-inch thick. If the mailpiece falls within these dimensions, it is classified as a letter. "

The bubble wrap that you used likely got you past the 1/4 thickness.

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That amount seems pretty crazy. I just mailed a box (around 14"x18"x3") packed as full of scions as possible (should be enough to graft 500ish rootstocks) from MN to PA for $16.

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First class is not subject to inspection. Media mail is subject to inspection as other pointed out. It would just be postage due if caught sending media mail. If you don’t care if it has tracking and don’t want it to go into the machine system go with a non machinable letter. If you don’t have an envelope the post office sells envelopes with postage for 70 something cents. .63 for postage and around .10 for the envelope. Bring it to the counter and have them affix postage and non machinable surcharge will be 30 something or 40 something cents. It costs a dollar. If you go that way it will be 1 something total but no tracking. If you go with a padded envelope it has to go as a package. If you want tracking it will be certified or package.

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If the seeds are ‘replaceable’ and you don’t need insurance or anything, I’d stick them inside a one page letter then put that inside a small envelope and a 63 cent stamp (UGH…used to be a nickel the first letteres I mailed)…
the liklihood if you put it in a drop box rather than go to the counter is that it gets to it’s destination. And if they select it for more postage, they’ll send it either back to you or request the extra from the recipient. But, in this computerized age, that mail sorting machine isn’t going to spit it back at you unless it hangs up the machine!

That’s my advice. Especially if you could send more seed if those end up in some crack in the system.

This is what I would do. US mail doesn’t restrict home made cards. So, take a piece of paper, fold it, write inside: dear Tippy, have a great growing season! Now draw a dirt line, and use flour + water glue to stick the seeds to the “dirt.” Here you go, a great card! ( And no fraud there!) Go mail it to a different post office, buy a single envelope and use stamps.


If the seed is less than 1/4 inch thick, cut two holes in a piece of card board and tape the seeds in. If it is flush and the letter is not over 1/4 inch thick, no one should care.


  1. goods to be bought and sold.
    “stores that offered an astonishing range of merchandise”
  2. promote the sale of (goods), especially by their presentation in retail outlets.
    “a new breakfast food can easily be merchandised”

I just copied that from google. Your package does not meet the definition of merchandise. Screw the postal employee.


@nil seems to have a good suggestion if you decide to send it in an envelope.

But be aware that the shells of bitter melon seeds aren’t that tough and may still crack in the rollers. The good news is that as long as the seed inside isn’t smooshed, they’ll still be good. I actually always clip away at least some seed shell with nail clippers when starting bitter melon (and most Asian gourds) and even took the entire seed shells off some last year when that particular variety was giving me poor germination.

I’m not a fan of Baker Creek for a number of reasons, but they do have free shipping, so if you don’t go with a first class envelope, it is probably cheaper to just buy a pack of seeds from them and have them ship. I particularly like the variety Ganjyu.

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If as I said you fold several pieces of paper and drill a hole through all of them, the thickness of the papers should protect the seed.

What kills me is that I just ordered a microwave-size air fryer/convection oven from Amazon, free shipping. One gallon synthetic oil for my car? Free shipping. Really big, fat, heavy roll of butcher paper? Free shipping. Often my post office guy complains how they get paid garbage rates from Amazon but I don’t hear him complaining how we get gauged for just about anything that doesn’t fit a flat rate box.

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Amazon sucks. The only reason they can do what they do is because they scam every contract they have. There is a reason most businesses don’t want to deal with them.

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Well. The seed is 170~mm thick. It is not the thickness I am questioning. It is the content. For my limited knowledge, I don’t recall USPS has restrictions ( besides all the listed items ) on what can or can’t not be mailed in a envelope as long as it fit the required dimensions.
Mailing stuff in this particular post office, in the history, cost more. I send a couple if scions usually cost $5+ in different post offices but cost $8+ in this post office. It seems to me there something going on. The rate is subject to each post office’s interpretation.