A.M. COSTA RICA Your English language news source since 2001

Find the latest news in Costa Rica

Tourism Real Estate  /  HotelsRestaurants  /  Professional ServicesClassifieds Sports Culture  /  Food   /  Business /  Health

A garden to love

You Might
Also Like

Published on Friday, June 2, 2023

By Victoria Torley

There is a lot to love up here in Arenal right now. The weather is perfect; it’s what we were told to expect from tropical weather at this height (635m).

Beautiful mornings with bright clear skies, warm to hot in the early afternoon and showers later in the day. Yes, the green season is here. YAY!

Just before sunset, flocks of parakeets head home to their nests, chattering all the way.

The lilies are blooming, the black raspberries are producing in abundance, and even the leaf-cutter ants seem to be taking a break.

All the birds seem to be singing and we have nests everywhere. We think this is a common tody-flycatcher nest. They are friendly birds and not easily spooked, or this one would never have built a nest next to our wind gauge.

Those old seeds I told you about have performed well. The tomatoes are stretching skyward and some of the vining plants are already in flower. Each set of vines has a collar – a plastic cup with the bottom cut off to prevent the vine borer beetles from accessing their bases. It’s such an easy trick and I hate seeing the split vines, not when they are easily prevented.

The seeds may be old, but they were difficult to find so I’m glad they are still viable.

Now, this is not really a complaint, but I like my squash – especially my zucchini – small and fresh and tender. Why Costa Rican gardeners let squash get huge is something I still don’t understand. So, we have zucchini, yellow summer squash and acorn squash all growing in the garden. Spaghetti squash? Not yet.

Carrots and beets are additional mysteries to me here in Costa Rica. I have never seen such huge carrots and the beets were unbelievable.

Again, there are times when smaller is better. If I can get carrots to grow (advice appreciated as my attempts have failed time and time again), we will pick them when they are young and tasty. Same with beets and definitely with radishes. We have met some touch radishes here, and Metric Man prefers his crunchy.

As the time stretches on to the rainy season, here is a tip for those of you with fruit trees. It’s time to fertilize them. You probably knew that, but the “how” is the issue. My first gardener fertilized the fruit trees by scattering the fertilizer pellets around on the ground. Wrong!

Find the drip line of your fruit trees (you may find instructions on the web).

Now, take a bulb planter – they work the best – and make a hole about 4 inches deep. Put in a teaspoon of fertilizer. Plug the hole. Move in a circle around the tree and repeat the process about every 3 feet. Not done yet! Move outward from the first circle by about two feet and start again but offset the holes. They shouldn’t line up. Depending on the size of the tree, you should repeat the process three or four times. Why? Scattering fertilizer nourishes the grass. Putting the fertilizer into the ground nourishes the tree.

Plant for the week. The Purple wreath, or also known as sandpaper vine (Petrea volubilis). This is a climbers plan in tropical countries, such as Costa Rica. A great interesting vine for a sheltered spot. It looks great trained up a structure in garden beds among other plants or on its own against a wall or trellis or even up a tree so the flowers can arch out of the tree to give a weeping effect. 

They can even be trained to an interesting standard for something different. Young plants can take a little while before they settle and flower. Arching panicles of flowers with lilac-purple, star-shaped calyxes are borne from spring and off to autumn. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, dark green above and paler beneath with a sandpaper-like texture.

For more information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley can be reached at 

Real Estate For Rent


Call Katherine Alfaro

Phone (506) 8650-0980 WhatsApp (506) 8650-0980

Real Estate For Sale