Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Why you should plant this multitasker in your tropical garden today

February 5, 2016

Coconuts palms are one of nature’s greatest gifts to the planet. Perhaps it could earn the title of single most useful palm in the tropics, yet here in Costa Rica it is used infrequently at best. In most other tropical countries, the coconut palm is widely planted for many of life’s essentials it provides.

The coconut is the world’s largest seed. Its outer husk can be used for mats and insulation; the palm fronds can be used for thatching roofs and making baskets, hats and mats; and the trunk can be used for construction. Its fibrous wood is impervious to insects.

And then there’s the coconut itself: considered one of the most treasured foods of all times, the coconut’s water, meat, cream and oil each provide many health benefits.

Coconut water is completely pure and is nearly identical to human blood, with the highest concentration of electrolytes found in nature. This makes it an excellent natural drink and a great substitute for artificial colas and beverages. Freshly grated coconut is an excellent food source for fiber, carbohydrates, and raw oil. It can be added to cereals and salads, or blended to create coconut milk, which is great substitute for cow’s milk. This cream is also a valuable aid for rejuvenating dry and aging skin. Grated dry coconut is also another healthy way to add coconut to your diet.

Over the past few decades, studies have shown that coconut oil is superior to most oils on the market.

Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than long-chain saturated fats and can have therapeutic effects for your health. Here a some of the benefits: coconut oil lowers cholesterol, wards off wrinkles, stabilizes glucose levels, fights off microbes, regulates hormones, increases thyroid production, helps to lose weight, improves metabolism, fights infections, improves memory and heals gum infections.

In Costa Rica, three varieties are available in leading nurseries: the tall Jamaicans with large meaty cocos and the smaller green and gold Malaysians, which are esteemed for their agua de pipa or coconut water. Selected seedling coconuts palms can be found in local nurseries around the country in various sizes.

Coconuts grow best in coastal regions up to about 1000 meters in elevation depending on microclimate conditions. They can planted directly in permanent sites where they have plenty of space to grow in full sunlight. They also grow best in sandy soils, so it’s best to add sand to heavy clay soils.

Locals say that adding a small amount of salt around these palms increases their growth. Adding small amounts of limestone, ashes and rock dust around the base of the palm each year also boosts their growth and production.

Coco palms can produce the first crop in five to seven years, and there’s nothing more rewarding than opening your first coconuts to enjoy the refreshing agua de pipa.

Until next time – happy gardening in Costa Rica.

Read more of Ed Bernhardt’s monthly Home Gardening columns here.

For more information on tropical gardening – naturally – visit Ed at http://thenewdawncenter.info/blog.html or contact him at thenewdawncenter@yahoo.com. 

140724EdBernhardtcolumnfooter

You may be interested

Several institutions suspend operations due to Orange Alert
Costa Rica
476 views
Costa Rica
476 views

Several institutions suspend operations due to Orange Alert

The Tico Times - July 14, 2020

Several Costa Rican institutions have reduced or suspended operations this week due to the Orange Alert that comprises the Greater…

News briefs: Health Ministry condemns those who don’t believe in pandemic
Costa Rica
4795 views
Costa Rica
4795 views

News briefs: Health Ministry condemns those who don’t believe in pandemic

The Tico Times - July 14, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 13, 2020
Costa Rica
21344 views
Costa Rica
21344 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 13, 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - July 13, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 440 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 8,036 cumulative known cases, the Health…