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Feb 07 2016

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Gardening in Costa Rica with Steve – Q & A

Q-graphic

Good morning, I wanted to ask you a question regarding gardening in Costa Rica. We plan on moving to CR very soon and I have been looking at all of the expat blogs and any other information we can get our hands on, but keep coming across the fact that there are limited varieties of seeds available and that if you do get some that they do not grow very well in CR. I wonder if you are aware of this and have some thoughts on issues either with limited variety or with the environment. Thank you. Cheers,
Mike and Beth

 

A-graphicHi Mike and Beth,
I write the gardening column for Retire for Less. There is a big variety of seeds here in Costa Rica. You can grow many things here that you cannot grow in the US. Due to the different climate, gardening is different here. To succeed, you will have to adapt. For example, one of my favorite crops in Connecticut and South Carolina was Silver Queen corn. It is very difficult to grow in Costa Rica because it was developed to grow in a summer with 14-15 hours of sunlight each day. Due to Costa Rica’s proximity to the Equator, each day of the year has little variation from 12 hours of daylight, no less, no more. Silver Queen needs more hours of sunlight.seedpackets
What part of Costa Rica will you be living in? If it’s along the coast, you will not be able to grow cool weather crops. If you let me know what kind of things you are interested in growing I can probably give you some advice. Costa Rica is rich in microclimates — many things our friends grow 3-4 miles from us we cannot grow at our house due to temperature, rain, and wind differences.
If I want to order some seeds from a seed company in the US I have them shipped to one of my sons and they bring them when they visit each year. It is technically illegal to bring seeds in your luggage, but they’ve been doing it for six years and have never been stopped. The worst case scenario is that the seeds could be confiscated.
Happy gardening in Costa Rica!
Steve Johnson

 

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