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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 145
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Here's betting on warm-weather kiwis

Yesterday was transplanting day for the kiwi fruit. Although they had been quite happy in their pots, they are now of a size to leave home and fend for

Victoria Torley
themselves. No, I don’t really mean it. They are still being tenderly cared for.

I picked a spot where I hope they will be very happy: morning sun and shaded in the afternoon by a very old mango tree. Yes, I know that kiwi is supposed to have a cold snap to produce fruit, but this is a
hybrid that the seed dealers said will fruit without one. We shall see.

Planting things that need a cold snap is tricky. Blueberries, one of our favorites, needs cold in order to set fruit, although there is a new variety somewhere in Florida that is said to produce without one (if only I could get my hands on some seeds or cuttings), and I heard a rumor that a vivero near San Jose had some plants. I have hope.

Back to my kiwi. For the past three years, I have been using the area under the mango tree as a depository for grass clippings, dead branches large and small, chicken manure, and general detritus all of which has melted down into a few inches of very rich soil. All that was necessary was to rake off the larger twigs and undigested leaves, move them to the side to continue mulching, and scrape up beautiful soil.

There were worms everywhere, both earthworms and red wigglers. I set the wigglers into the mulch pile and carted the soil and earthworms to the planting site. A nice big hole, a lot of my good soil, a careful spreading of the roots, and the first kiwi was in the ground.

While I was occupied, my gardener was up a tree, literally. He had climbed up into the old mango in search of fruit for us to share, but he was also doing some cleaning up.

Although the old mango had somehow escaped the matapalo problem of my citrus trees, it is being used as a platform for bromeliads and orchids. Armando sent down a shower of mangos and followed it up with other things he cleaned off the tree.

I watched Armando for a minute or two, then went back to my newly planted kiwi. Turned out that my Shepherd had decided that freshly turned earth and a fuzzy leafed plant were just what he needed as a spot for a nap! Bad dog!  I spent the next few minutes making a twig and branch fence around the kiwi. Next time, I will pay closer attention to the dog.

firecracker
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant of the Week

The Crossandra infundibuliformis or firecracker flower, is a fantastic low grower for garden borders. I love this one for its coral color, but yellow, red, and even turquoise are available. Plant in full sun but move to partial shade if it fails to thrive. Propagation is from seeds, which explode when ready like a firecracker, or from cuttings.


If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arenal-Gardeners/413220712106845
Costa Rican News
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Retire NOW in Costa Rica
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Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica



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