bringing seeds into Costa Rica

Legoguerin :

Oh no!

Legoguerin since you didn't use the Quote button we don't know what you're responding to when you say "Oh no!"

As long as I'm here, now that I've lived here a while, I will add some info that I've learned.

1) bringing in seeds. I "know someone" who's done it many times with no problems at all. They don't even have to be hidden, in fact I think it's best just to scatter them around in various places in various pieces of luggage. IMHO.
Many things are not available here and that's why people bring them in. They never heard of kale where I live. They don't have lavender or certain chili peppers or giant sunflowers or numerous other things one may want including certain varieties of tomatoes or etc veges ...

2) Leaf cutter ants. Mirex works sometimes but not always. Some won't carry it back to the nest. Somehow they know better.
There is NO magic bullet to kill leaf cutters that I have heard of. Sure you can dynamite them and burn them out but more will come. It's a constant battle if you live in certain areas.

Just because Costa Rica in general uses a lot of chemicals on food and weeds and has bad environmental practices in many places, that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't do better and teach the locals better practices. Yes they use roundup indiscriminately because they don't know better. Teach them a better way and explain why. Yes they drain black water into the rivers and ocean, so educate them as best you can why that's bad.

Nothing against Ticos but the truth is they just are not well educated in general, especially regarding things like chemicals in foods (preservatives, pesticides etc) and protecting the water and soil and air. They're better than they were though so progress is happening, it's just slow.

Where I live, when we don't use certain foods because of the preservatives they look at us like we're crazy. They have never thought of reading the labels for such things, or to avoid sugar in orange juice or canned corn for example. BPA, forget it!

They are learning. Now I see some organic markets and organic vege vendors at the farmers market. Health stores are popping up. But they have a long way to go and yes they use tons of chemicals on crops and weeds.

Thank you for replying.  Will see what happens with the leaf cutter ants and the use of Dynamite.  Just started the battle and will let you know if it does work.  Again thank you for getting back to me and I will use quote button next time.

This might be a useful link.

Put the seeds in your luggage and they will get through.
If they are in closed packages they will be less suspicious.
We bring in Sun flower seeds.

Sanbuenaventuraman :

Put the seeds in your luggage and they will get through.
If they are in closed packages they will be less suspicious.
We bring in Sun flower seeds.

We just brought in sunflower seeds, too! Because here the sunflowers they sell are tiny little things! LOL.
We also brought in kale an some other stuff we didn't find here.

TerrynViv :

This might be a useful link.

This works good for some ants, but not for leaf cutters in my experience.
The best thing we've found is mirex BUT it's a pain because you have to find the ants actually eating (usually at night around 10pm) and put some in their path.
If they take the bait back to the nest, great, you win!
But many are smart enough not to take it and then you are left without much choice.
They just ate everything a friend of mine bought at the vivero the other day, and they won't eat the mirex!
They are eating our lemon trees right now!

We have brought in unopened packets of seeds many times with no problems.  However, everything here is CR depends on who you get that day.  I know a person or two who have had seeds taken from then when they go thru customs in CR.   So I would say, yes, bring them with a very slight chance they might be taken from you.

I'm so missing my yellow crookneck squash.  I now have seeds here.  Are you sucessfully growing them?  If so, can you share your location?  I'm in PZ at about 3,000 in the mountains.  We have plenty of sun and more than average rain for the area.  What times of year do you plant, etc.?

Okay, I'm new hear and just learning how to post, etc.  Someone many posts before indicated they were successfully growing yellow crookneck squash so that's who my last post was intended for.  Please be patient with

I bought a bunch of packaged vegetable seeds in Costa Rica and brought them here. Very poor results as the seeds originated in Belgium and the U. In gardening you would likely do as well simply using vegetables from the store. But if you want a bit more diversity such as beef steak tomatoes, they should be a type from Florida, the Deep US South, Southern Texas or Southern California. During Dry Season seeds suitable for the Southwest US or even the Midwest should be suitable.

I had a good garden 7 to 9 months ago with lots of cucumbers, squash, as well as radishes. Another garden planted 3 months ago radishes were all tops, no root and died off. Others, like tomatoes were lost to an iguana. But the survivors are just now blooming.

I have a PH and light meter. But I assure you the soil here is too low on phosphorous and potassium as cotton was grown here in the past and nothing depletes this faster. A good fertilizer highly recommended. But practically throwing your money away if you don't test the soil.  Forget the Urea sold here. All that gives is Nitrogen. Gypsum , iron sulfate and Epson Salts would beef up the garden production if you can find it.

Rain can literally beat your plants to the ground. I planted corn and came up spindly and none survived beyond 6 weeks. I have also planted seeds that remain dormant for as long as 5 months, then surprise me by sprouting. Tomatoes and peppers fall into this.

Any gardeners in the area, contact me. Maybe we can help each other on problems.

I plan on bringing okra seed next trip. That stuff grows when nothing else does.

Legoguerin :

Thank you for replying.  Will see what happens with the leaf cutter ants and the use of Dynamite.  Just started the battle and will let you know if it does work.  Again thank you for getting back to me and I will use quote button next time.

Well the ants won they killed the beautiful bush they were digesting.  Now we are going to try another plant that is similar in the same spot.  Hard to win over the industrious ant.

Ants are very easy to control with Diatomaceous Earth. Sometimes Walmart or PriceMart has it. Otherwise go to a place that has swimming pool and spa supplies. It is commonly used in the filters. Safe around children and pets But to ants and other crawling insects it is like 300 Spartans at the Striaghts of Thermopylae armed with 15 foot long spears.

Thanks will check it out Diatomaceous Earth.  Maybe I can win!

I understand that Diatomaceous Earth is very difficult to find here.
It is good to know that Costa Rica's ants are good for something...  :whistle:

Restaurants are known to have it. Actually, I am in Nicaragua and even harder to find. But the gym I go to has a pool and I obtain it from there a pound will cover quite a bit of area. Cinnamon and hot peppers are known to repel ants too, but will get washed away from rain and watering.

I'm going to Chicago next week and bringing back things unobtainable here. Number 1 for my wife is some 95% Peppermint oil to keep what we have named Mickey Mouse out of the house. Better to keep them away than kill them after all.   For the mouse problem there is a cellphone app that mimics the sound of a cat with a growl, add the strobe app and you will repel just about anything.  I likely have more features on my one Acer cellphone than all three of my computers. It as 32 G memory, a 128 G SD plus a 1 TB thumb drive at times. I have at least a half dozen earthquake alerts.  Amazing camera too with 19 MP. Darn near as good as my Sony Zeiss camera. In fact the cellphone has 200X magnification, my Sony just 16X.  Bringing back all the canned and packaged things for traditional American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

My wife is both Costa Rican and Nicaraguan, a university professor and college administrator. Jobs in CR  became too unstable and if even kept were starting 40% pay cuts. So moving here we do better on my income alone than in CR with her two added. Costa Rica definitely has the best scenery and weather.  For me the requirement to deposit $200,000 in the Bank of CR to start a business was a big roadblock. Here it is only $5000. Even with that still considering.

Wow I never used a cell phone before moving to Costa Rica and I mainly use for local and MajicJack phone calls.  Glad you have something to keep Mickey out. 
Now that we have our Residency here we aren't making trips to Nicaragua otherwise it would have been great to visit you and your wife.


I began working with IBM computers in 1965. Back then it was vacuum tube diode switching, 2 bits. Input was by a teletype, output on punch cards. I kind of lost my abilities after Windows 98SE as I could no longer drop to DOS where I used to write in C, Pascal and several types of Basic, but mainly HPL Basic.  Still I am hard on computers with 20 or so windows open at one time. A little tip though computers sold here under perform. Clock speed is reduced, 64 bit processors usually have 32 bit Operating Systems. And when set up in a language other than English will have features accessible only in English. Best too to turn off the GPS and keep your IPA in he US or Canada if you want to get past the "Sorry, that site or download is not available in your country.

I fly to Chicago this week. Big thing I will return with are a bread maker, holiday food items and garden seeds. I have contacted Chicago Botanical Gardens to get information and seeds purchased from there definitely good in this climate. I will also be running a spectrographic soil analysis at the lab at the University of Chicago. Been a while since I have done that and usually was analyzing the oil in aircraft. That is done every flight on a single engine commercial or military plane. Once every two on a twin engine. One out of 4 on a 4 engine and one out of 8 on a B-52. If anything eventful is happening inside the engine it is detected. With reciprocating aircraft they were periodically disassembled an inspected. With jets they did the same only to see they looked as new as the day made even after millions of miles and many years flying. Odd event was a 747 taking a buzzard in one engine while flying at 35,000 feet over Africa. Put the one engine out, but the other three did the job getting it to destination. Of note airliners today fly over 100 MPH slower to conserve fuel. The 747 was the fastest at some 620 MPH except Concord. Checked and my plane will be flying around 347 MPH. Prop planes may be passing my 737.  Best planes would be diesel turbine props. In former times diesels in planes were too heavy. Titanium solves that. And the turbine rather than pistons solves the maintenance.  Capable of 600 MPH speeds and a fuel savings of about 150%  I worked for Allied - Signal that had a 707 that flew from Burbank to Phoenix daily and return. Three GE TurboFan engines and one Diesel prop. The prop had 30% more thrust and nearly 200% better  fuel efficiency. The prop blades were like an egg beater without tips. I called it the Frankenstein Monster.
I bet okra would grow very well here. But would anyone but me actually eat it. I love it if harvested young. But wait and gets real woody. And the difference can come in a single day.

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