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bringing seeds into Costa Rica

We will be in Costa Rica for 4 months.  I wanted to grow some veggies and herbs while we are there.  Does anyone know if you are allowed to bring unopened seed packets from the US into Costa Rica?  Thanks.  Laura

Hello lauramacpherson.

Hope our members will be able to help you :)

Aurélie

lauramacpherson wrote:

We will be in Costa Rica for 4 months.  I wanted to grow some veggies and herbs while we are there.  Does anyone know if you are allowed to bring unopened seed packets from the US into Costa Rica?  Thanks.  Laura

Yes, you can bring in commercial seeds in unopened packets. They don't bother with those.

Casey.

really?  We were led to believe that seeds are highly frowned upon.  I'm truly glad to know that's not true.  There are a number of vegies I want to be sure we can grow.

San Isidro de General is also our targeted area.  Don't know what it is but we've very drawn to it.

riggadeaux wrote:

really?  We were led to believe that seeds are highly frowned upon.  I'm truly glad to know that's not true.  There are a number of vegies I want to be sure we can grow.

San Isidro de General is also our targeted area.  Don't know what it is but we've very drawn to it.

We've done it, friends have done it. Sometimes you don't know if there is a rule or it just isn't being enforced. I've had them mailed in, too, from commercial vendors and they wouldn't ship them if they knew they were not allowed. If you want to increase the possibility you'll receive them you could mail some packets to someone here, they rarely check envelopes. There are a lot of veggie seeds here of course, some made for this climate.

If you bring broccoli, bring several varieties as we've not had good luck with getting them to head, just leaves, on a plant 5 feet tall! Kale seeds are hard to find here, so bring those, too.

Be prepared because gardening is a whole different deal down here.

- Casey A Dull Roar - Moving to, Retiring in, and Living with Costa Rica

so we've heard........ do you by any chance know John and Sheelaugh Richards?  We understand John (a formerly avid gardener in the UK) has nearly given up the fight with the bugs.

I've never had luck growing broccoli here either because we live in Louisiana, South Louisiana.  It's nearly as humid and even hotter than it is in CR so we understand about too much sun.  We have tons of bugs, spiders, lizards, geckos, snakes, and alligators instead of crocodiles but it's not all that different.  What I want most to grow is yellow summer squash, artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes (if possible,) beets, brussel sprouts, eggplants... have you tried any of these?

I was glad you listed your blog address, I've gone and checked it out already!

Yes, we know Sheelagh and John well! Casa de Las Celts! :)

All those things (except maybe artichokes) are in the farmers market so it must be possible! Tomatoes are a little tricky as it's easy for them to get blossom-end rot. I would think brussel sprouts would do well. Squash and melons are hard because the leaves often get attacked by fungus. One day you've got healthy looking squash plants, the next day they are toast.

A lot of veggie growing here is timing as anywhere, but you can't use your usual instincts for that, you need to ask around. We don't seem to have too much problems with insects, but we are at 4000 feet and Sheelagh is at about 2500 feet. Most people grow vegetables under cover because of the hard rains.

When you get down here, visit us and we can go visit a local organic farmer who is full of great information. He even makes his own organic pesticides.

A gardening friend had her seeds confiscated on a recent trip back from the states.  I think a lot depends on who is looking at your stuff.  Some will say it's ok, and others will say no, and take them.
I would say come prepared for either situation. Of course, that's pretty much the way you will come to live your life here anyway :-)

Exactly Julie. Often officials don't know the rules, which can work to one's advantage also. :lol: It's also possible that some types of seeds they don't allow, but my wife has brought them in on her last two trips North, they looked, the said go ahead. Of course, when I bring them in I just put them in my pockets. :)

So glad to have all this information and yes, we will definitely be looking you up when we get there.  The sooner the better :cool:

By coincidence I just got some seeds in the mail yesterday, Lacinato Kale. Each month a friend forwards mail from the States (mostly junk unfortunately) and inside was a small packet of these seeds. We've grown it before here and it does great! It just keeps getting taller and taller with fresh leaves, never bitter. The last one we had was well over a year old before it finally got knocked over and uprooted!

Casey  -  A Dull Roar - Moving to, Retiring in, and Living with Costa Rica

I plan to bring heirloom seed packs to a farm near San Isadro, but also thinking of them as a gift to school children in Carate (packing light). Can you suggest fruit/veg seeds children might have success with in that costal area? Or for that matter, other small gifts.

I smuggled a few pounds of seeds here about six months ago and have done some experimenting to see what will grow. Tomatoes,peppers and cucumbers are loving it here! Im planning on growing some various melons as well. Make sure seeds go into your checked luggage and hope you get it through.

Things like brocoli, carrots, cauliflower are all cooler weather plants...this MIGHT be why brocoli does not grow well there???Not sure as we dont live there yet but I am an experienced greenhouse/landscaper and here in Canada these plants are considered cool weather plants.

As for blossom end rot for tomato's, if you use a fertilizer with micro nutrients (especially) calcium, you may avoid this. I live in Southern Ontario and we have exceptionally high humidity in summer, so I do have some experience with this issue. Powdery mildew on leaves is the norm here, you can use a copper powder or ready to use mix to help keep that down. As for bugs, I dont know what to say as I do not live there...yet...

I plant marigolds all through out my garden which helps keep pests down...most bugs dont like marigolds and it looks pretty as well!

Are there any pesticides or fungicides available in Costa Rica?  If so , you will just have to read the lables to see how long after use that you can harvest and eat...Here in Canada we have a number of "safe" products that can be used but I am unaware of what is available in Costa Rica.

As I said I do not live there just yet, that will change in a year or two and I can not wait to learn the eco system of Costa Rica. I am sure there are certain growing times for certain things. I certainly plan on bringing a tonne of seeds with me!

Andrea

I did some research on bringing in seeds AND its ok to bring em on in unless its an invasive plant like squashes and the like. The seeds must be sealed and clearly marked. I was thinking how cool I was smuggling seeds HA,!

Hey I'm hoping you gardening types might help me out:

How do you get rid of leaf cutter ants attacking everything you plant, especially fruit trees? (my property is out in the back country).

How do you kill this very aggressive weed/ cattlefood / grass  called bryzanta? My neighbor says the only thing that will really help is roundup which of course is a very dangerous chemical I would prefer not be used.

Also which veges will grow in the mountains around 2800 feet? Pretty foggy, moderately (for Costa Rica) rainy.

Any tips or tricks would be welcome!

I have all kins of suggestion for killing weeds and ants etc BUT roundup is not one of them!

Do what I did and befriend an older local and ask them what to do,these people are pretty connected to their enviroment and have been doing things all natural for ages. And they will tell you what grows well.

Thanks cgb but I do have a caretaker who has been doing this for years and his father before him but he says getting rid of tons of leaf cutter ants is a constant battle. Roundup is not for the ants it is for the bryzante (sp) which is some kind of grass cattle people grow for the cattle but which spreads to their neighbors' land and is a weed that "takes over" if we don't stop it.

As for leafcutters he is using various poisons that are not as bad as roundup but bad enough, and he says even those don't do the job.

I'd be curious about any methods that have found to be successful. I found some on another forum but he says he's tried all the common pesticides used and they aren't working. This land is out in the boonies next to a forest so it may just be an impossible battle to win...

There are all the seeds you need here, there are farmer supply stores everywhere and EPA the home depot of CR has a lot of seeds plus plus already started plants.

For a lark I purchased some asparagus seeds I knew they grew
in CR but didnt know where.  Bingo I have a large asparagus patch
that produces large amounts  at 4800 ft. central valley.

Now I am looking for artichokes if anyone knows where to find these I will promise you a batch.  They do grow here but smaller.

Please do not bring in seeds from US!  Most are GMO.  One of the things I love about CR is the great tasting fruits and veggies.  We started tomatoe plants from seeds from local tomatoes.  Do you really want the beautiful looking but not very tasty tomatoes we have in the US.  They are bred and modified for lasting longer, being bigger and nicer looking but less flavor and nutrition.  Just one example.

And please don't use chemical pesticides and fertilizers!!!  If you want the water here to be contaminated here like many places in US, keep doing what we did back there!!   You know some of the reasons you live in CR now is because of these things in the US.  So please don't start these problems here too.  Please!

labup, I don't think the gringos are going to add much to the large amount of pesticide, herbicide and chemical fertilizer use that the Ticos already engage in. We are a drop in that ocean, but I agree we shouldn't contribute to the situation.

I demand proof that most seeds from the US are GMO, by the way. If they are, they will find their way here, you can count on that.

- Casey

A Dull Roar

First I've heard of growing asparagus from seed. Cool!

A Dull Roar

All those cool weather plants grow here somewhere, but it's best to use local varieties adapted to the climate and the constant length of daylight all year. For instance, most broccoli you'd bring from the States will grow like crazy here but never make a head. Kale grows like a tree here almost, especially Lacinato. Just keeps going and going for years.

- Casey

A Dull Roar

I know they will make their way there.  Especially if we aid in it or don't do anything about it.  Many countries have banned GMO seeds.

The growing season is longer in the tropics because the days are only 11-12 hours.  Its not like Canada or the US where you can have 18 hour days.  So I dont believe you will be able to go from seed to harvest in four months here you might get some veggies but it is more like 5-6 months.  I dont think 4 months is enough.  Also in the dry season mid Dec. to May there is no rain so you will have to irrigate.  I just dont plant anything during the dry season it is a waste of time and city wáter is expensive.  I have perrenials and fruit tres to supply me in the dry season.  I have aloe for drinks, ginger, asparagus, Chayote which is producing great after 4 years in the ground,  200 fruits per plant red hibiscus for tea and drinks.  I have these planted around my septic tank and drain field and an inground wáter tank that provide them mositure during the dry season.
As for leaf cutter ants I have not found an organic way to get rid of them.  I pour gasoline on their mounds and holes and burn them out  so no problema in my garden.  But they are everywhere
in the country and increasingly a bigger problema.

I bought the seeds in EPA and just threw them in a pot and forgot about them.  Sincé I had never seen them growing I didnt know that they had ferny type growth.  So I had to look on the Internet at images.  anyway I have never seen the seeds for sale since then but I let mine go to seed and it produces a good but tiny Little seed hard to even see in a Little Green pod that looks like a pea.

cgbperkins wrote:

I did some research on bringing in seeds AND its ok to bring em on in unless its an invasive plant like squashes and the like. The seeds must be sealed and clearly marked. I was thinking how cool I was smuggling seeds HA,!

it's uber cool until they stamp " SMUGGLER" without clarifying "what"

labup wrote:

Please do not bring in seeds from US!  Most are GMO.  One of the things I love about CR is the great tasting fruits and veggies.  We started tomatoe plants from seeds from local tomatoes.  Do you really want the beautiful looking but not very tasty tomatoes we have in the US.  They are bred and modified for lasting longer, being bigger and nicer looking but less flavor and nutrition.  Just one example.

And please don't use chemical pesticides and fertilizers!!!  If you want the water here to be contaminated here like many places in US, keep doing what we did back there!!   You know some of the reasons you live in CR now is because of these things in the US.  So please don't start these problems here too.  Please!

Hi, I agree with the other reply that Americans are not the ones to use any more pesticide/herbicide than the Ticos. The ants are such a problem, some people are considering using Dynamite to destroy their colonies! My Tico neighbor down there uses Roundup for certain weeds as he says it is the only thing that works. I hate that he or anyone uses it but I also understand that people are going to use what works and if they try other stuff and it doesn't work then they'll use what works.

As to seeds in the USA being GMO, I am not sure but I imagine many are at this point, certainly corn and soy are and I think I heard tomatoes are often GMO as well. HOWEVER, that said, I think many people want to bring in non-GMO seeds and heirloom type varieties and those are probably more available here - if you look for them (not necessarily at the local lawn and garden shop) - than in Costa Rica, though I can't say for sure what is available in Costa Rica as I haven't looked for seeds there.

But when I come down I do want to bring non-GMO seeds, heirloom varieties and such.

bard wrote:

The growing season is longer in the tropics because the days are only 11-12 hours.  Its not like Canada or the US where you can have 18 hour days.  So I dont believe you will be able to go from seed to harvest in four months here you might get some veggies but it is more like 5-6 months.  I dont think 4 months is enough.  Also in the dry season mid Dec. to May there is no rain so you will have to irrigate.  I just dont plant anything during the dry season it is a waste of time and city wáter is expensive.  I have perrenials and fruit tres to supply me in the dry season.  I have aloe for drinks, ginger, asparagus, Chayote which is producing great after 4 years in the ground,  200 fruits per plant red hibiscus for tea and drinks.  I have these planted around my septic tank and drain field and an inground wáter tank that provide them mositure during the dry season.
As for leaf cutter ants I have not found an organic way to get rid of them.  I pour gasoline on their mounds and holes and burn them out  so no problema in my garden.  But they are everywhere
in the country and increasingly a bigger problema.

Bard, thanks for the tip re gasoline for ants. Do you also use pesticide? If so what is the LEAST horrible one to use for ants?

I would prefer to be 100% organic but I am told where my property is that it is very very difficult due to ants and weeds. In fact my neighbor tried to grow his coffee organic but he quit and went to non-organic.

Once I am living there my attitude will probably be "If I can't grow it without pesticides or herbicides then I won't bother to grow it at all."

samramon wrote:

Hey I'm hoping you gardening types might help me out:

How do you get rid of leaf cutter ants attacking everything you plant, especially fruit trees? (my property is out in the back country).

How do you kill this very aggressive weed/ cattlefood / grass  called bryzanta? My neighbor says the only thing that will really help is roundup which of course is a very dangerous chemical I would prefer not be used.

Also which veges will grow in the mountains around 2800 feet? Pretty foggy, moderately (for Costa Rica) rainy.

Any tips or tricks would be welcome!

I've had a couple invasions of leef cutter ants, as well.  For immediate results, I mix about 7 ml of citronella essential oil, 10-20 drops of peppermint oil and 1.5-ish cups of water in a spray bottle.  You can shake and spray plants, bases of trees, or even directly spray a horde of ants.  They hate it!  Every time I've used the stuff, they couldn't get away fast enough.  As for ant hills, you can buy mirex-s at your local gardening store.  They are pellets that the ants mistake as food and bring into their nest.  When it rains it releases a gas inside the nest that kills the ants inside of the hill.  It sounds pretty inhumane, but if I have to choose between my citrus trees and the ants, I will choose my trees every time.

elektraX wrote:
samramon wrote:

Hey I'm hoping you gardening types might help me out:

How do you get rid of leaf cutter ants attacking everything you plant, especially fruit trees? (my property is out in the back country).

How do you kill this very aggressive weed/ cattlefood / grass  called bryzanta? My neighbor says the only thing that will really help is roundup which of course is a very dangerous chemical I would prefer not be used.

Also which veges will grow in the mountains around 2800 feet? Pretty foggy, moderately (for Costa Rica) rainy.

Any tips or tricks would be welcome!

I've had a couple invasions of leef cutter ants, as well.  For immediate results, I mix about 7 ml of citronella essential oil, 10-20 drops of peppermint oil and 1.5-ish cups of water in a spray bottle.  You can shake and spray plants, bases of trees, or even directly spray a horde of ants.  They hate it!  Every time I've used the stuff, they couldn't get away fast enough.  As for ant hills, you can buy mirex-s at your local gardening store.  They are pellets that the ants mistake as food and bring into their nest.  When it rains it releases a gas inside the nest that kills the ants inside of the hill.  It sounds pretty inhumane, but if I have to choose between my citrus trees and the ants, I will choose my trees every time.

I agree with you that killing ants is sometimes necessary. I actually have no problem at all with killing ants.
All I have a problem with is killing them with chemicals that end up :
a) contaminating the soil and food I will be eating
b) leading to the further contamination of the air and water

How "bad" is this mirex-s stuff? I've heard of it but don't know what's in it. Could you tell me the active chemical in it? (I don't live in Costa Rica yet, but I have a caretaker taking care of plants and trees etc.)

OK ,let's drop the illusions.You're bleating about dangerous roundup when the idiot CR government sprays thousands of miles of easement with it multiple times a year.OOOO Dat Bad. Well. You ever wonder why everywhere you go in CR there is a sign " please put waste paper in the trash can-DON'T FLUSH ? No it isn't a septic problem. The problem is the pipes from the thrones go directly into the closest year round water source. Can you imagine 12-16 MILLION handfuls of TP floating down the waterways every single day ? Talk about impacting tourism ! DaChit blends in well with the brown mud after it rains. No problem. No. That smell isn't "the tropics". It's exactly what it smells like. The fish get rid of the miniscule evidence ( tomato and corn seed)
You're worried about Mirex contaminating your food when CR uses TWICE the amount of pesticides than any other country on earth. #2 is Colombia and it's a far distant second even though The Great Satan has helicopters spraying herbicide so the poor farmers can't compete against the CIA's program(s) in Bolivia and Peru. This starves the Colombian campesinos but W.G.A..F, they're brown, right ?
Go ahead. Google all of the FACTS. You've been brainwashed.Greenwashed actually.
It probably has something to do with global warming and terra-rizzzm. :whistle:

No matter what you choose to grow make sure you can see it from the window or about the time it gets ripe it will magically vanish. No the dog wont scare them away. They have a neat system of poisoning dogs here.
Dead dog. Disappearing vegetables, fruit , eggs, chickens and anything else that isn't locked away or too heavy to lift.
Pura Vida

Arnold Ziffle wrote:

OK ,let's drop the illusions.You're bleating about dangerous roundup when the idiot CR government sprays thousands of miles of easement with it multiple times a year.OOOO Dat Bad. Well. You ever wonder why everywhere you go in CR there is a sign " please put waste paper in the trash can-DON'T FLUSH ? No it isn't a septic problem. The problem is the pipes from the thrones go directly into the closest year round water source. Can you imagine 12-16 MILLION handfuls of TP floating down the waterways every single day ? Talk about impacting tourism ! DaChit blends in well with the brown mud after it rains. No problem. No. That smell isn't "the tropics". It's exactly what it smells like. The fish get rid of the miniscule evidence ( tomato and corn seed)
You're worried about Mirex contaminating your food when CR uses TWICE the amount of pesticides than any other country on earth. #2 is Colombia and it's a far distant second even though The Great Satan has helicopters spraying herbicide so the poor farmers can't compete against the CIA's program(s) in Bolivia and Peru. This starves the Colombian campesinos but W.G.A..F, they're brown, right ?
Go ahead. Google all of the FACTS. You've been brainwashed.Greenwashed actually.
It probably has something to do with global warming and terra-rizzzm. :whistle:

Bleating? That's an odd way of describing the simple act of kindly asking about a poison to deter ants.
I'm sorry you hate living in Costa Rica so much. I have to wonder why you don't move.

I will google for info on pesticide use in Costa Rica but if you have any links to back up what you said, why not put them with your post? I will add what I find. By the way I wouldn't be too surprised if Costa Rica is a top user of pesticides. I know coffee is generally very laden with pesticide or herbicide or both.

Regardless of whether Costa Rica uses a lot of pesticides, that still doesn't mean you and I and everyone else shouldn't minimize our use - especially on food we are going to eat. Your post seems somewhat illogical in this regard.

Your laziness is my work ! I don't hate Costa Rica.
(Moderated: rude comment)
PP get hard to facts ! :top:
LINKAGE
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-inf … ticide-use

http://www.amcostarica.com/062011.htm
BURRP.
http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/03/27/hig … udies-show

https://www.costaricantrails.com/costa_ … rticle-324

Old article. Never happened / Never will
http://www.ticotimes.net/2011/02/10/san … ment-plant

Yeah, I have to admit that post sounds more like a personal rant than any kind of helpful information.  Peace, all.  Peace.

Unfortunately, even using mirex, it is very difficult to keep those leaf cutters from ruining your trees. I know of those who have resorted to using dynamite... :huh:

You need to purchase/get short day seeds for growing in this climate, and at a higher/cooler altitude, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes would be best. It may be best to build a  covered garden to keep the heavy rain off of your crops.

VERY small selection of seeds available.

Arnold Ziffle wrote:

Your laziness is my work ! I don't hate Costa Rica.
I hate illusions and lies.That's why I HATE the USA and England and other flagwashed retarded sheeple.
PP get hard to facts ! :top:
LINKAGE
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-inf … ticide-use

http://www.amcostarica.com/062011.htm
BURRP.
http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/03/27/hig … udies-show

https://www.costaricantrails.com/costa_ … rticle-324

Old article. Never happened / Never will
http://www.ticotimes.net/2011/02/10/san … ment-plant

I had no idea the pesticide use in  Costa Rica was THAT high! Thanks for the facts.

I knew the sewage in rivers was a problem. Didn't know Guanacaste had high arsenic levels.

Guess a water filter will be in order.

Anyone know what kind of water filters are available in Costa Rica? Berkey?

kohlerias wrote:

Unfortunately, even using mirex, it is very difficult to keep those leaf cutters from ruining your trees. I know of those who have resorted to using dynamite... :huh:

You need to purchase/get short day seeds for growing in this climate, and at a higher/cooler altitude, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes would be best. It may be best to build a  covered garden to keep the heavy rain off of your crops.

VERY small selection of seeds available.

Thanks for this info.
Yeah my caretaker says he's tried mirex without much success. When the ants are heavily embedded, apparently there is little you can do...

Use youtube as a tool. Build your own filter system. PVC and carbon( Kar Bone). The stuff they use here for a BBQ grill. Learn Spanish. The old timers can tell you how to handle water. If you're headed to the central hellhole( San Jose, Santa Ana,Rohmercer, Atenas, Alajuela and other such sewers, I imagine water will be the very least of your worries." Necesito machine gun" might be the first words to learn around those parts.

Sorry. It's all BS. It's as delusional as the US claiming to be a first world nation when the FACTS make it the first, and only, fourth world nation.
Of course I have a link: Necesito dos machine guns, por favor.
http://www.ticotimes.net/2013/10/30/cos … ontroversy

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