Outstanding in the Dirt

Coming to a country near you

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My wife and I (currently living in Portland Oregon) have our house up for sale and intend to come to Nicaragua sometime this coming spring. During Nov. we were in Matagalpa for a couple of weeks and with a little help, were able to see some nicely sloped land (about 30 acres) for sale for $50,000 USD. I offered $40,000 but left to come home before I was able to hear back from the owners. Here in Oregon, 30 acres, at 20,000 per acre sells for $600,000. So we're pretty excited. Now I'm interested to know, where can I get (buy) seeds and plant starts in that country? I would like to grow locally available tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe and beans to start with.

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Updated 12-11-2013 at 10:34 PM by Outstanding in the Dirt

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  1. georgiabulldog's Avatar
    Dear Sir My wife and I are also planning to do the same thing. The kids are going to buy out of season seeds when they go on sell in the USA and mail them to us. I have been checking farm prices on the internet they are very affordable. I read coffee prices are way down and a lot of farms are going up for sale.
  2. Outstanding in the Dirt's Avatar
    georgiabulldog - I have been able to find out a few things about the subject I've asked about. Some messages on www.internationalliving.com are written by people whose inbound mail was confiscated by the Nica gov. It turns out that bringing any kind of living plant material into the country is not allowed. What is successfully being done, is to put the seeds in your baggage along with your clothes and things. I'm going to do that.

    Still, I do want seeds of vegetable varieties that are already being grown in Nicaragua. I would like to find out where I can get them.
  3. cookshow's Avatar
    You can buy common seeds here in any of the farming supply type stores that are abundant in rural/farming areas, they are in bulk and you purchase by weight. Bringing seeds in baggage is ok but seems like the x-ray machines may do some damage, might want to study on that before dropping a pile of money on seeds. I had lots of trouble with my last batch.

    To find out what is growing go to any towns mercado and take a look, there it is. Pretty much everything under the sun is being grown here either for domestic use or export.
  4. bill_bly_ca's Avatar
    Rent first - The cultural shock is to vast to be underestimated - There is a line forming to take your money and land - that is all
  5. Outstanding in the Dirt's Avatar
    Is the best way to get seeds from plants that are grown locally to buy a tomato (for example) from an open air mercado and take seeds from it?

    Wow bill_bly_ca, I'm sure that's good advice - I've heard others say it too. I wish there was some safe way, like proceed through a lawyer or something.
  6. cookshow's Avatar
    You just buy seeds where other Farmers do, they have seeds here, just not the variety you will find in a Johnny's catalog.

    Lawyers and Safe are not commonly seen in the same sentence here.
  7. MizBrown's Avatar
    Basically what you learn by renting first is all the ins and out of how titles work here and what sorts of things are indicative of problems with the titles. The other thing is you learn the history of the house or land from the neighbors -- is one of the neighbors pissed that her brother sold land to gringos, is the boundary in dispute, does the guy who's selling you the place actually own it? If you're buying land, does it come equipped with tenants with children who you can't legally get rid of easily if at all. Squatters? Water rights? etc.

    There are parts of the US where you can buy land for $1K to $3K an acre, just not on the coasts. http://www.landsofarkansas.com/arkansas/ just from Googling on that state.
  8. Outstanding in the Dirt's Avatar
    That was thoughtful of all of you - I do see the flashing red lights now.
  9. el duende grande's Avatar
    Seeds are are available here, in large packets or tin cans, mostly from Italy or CA. The crops you mention are common, so you will be competing with everyone else with inherited land, relatives who work for just about nothing, and who are more adept at skirting the laws to make a profit. Either way, the acid test for farm land here is whether or not it has all-year water. Seeing it in late april is the most secure way to verify this. And send a Nic. spy to ask some of the oldtimers what it was like during Hurican Mitch or the last draught.

    A red flag went up when you mentioned the cost of land in OR vs Nic. There are bargains here, but other things are quite expensive and when you roll in quality sometimes you get a net loss.

    Welcome aboard, but I would suggest finding a lawyer who is not a crook, drunk, or incompetent and a translator who can actually translate and is sharp enough on the legal issues to translate effectively. Do not pass one centavo to the would-be seller until all legal issues have been resolved, and then have some money set aside in case some issues come up later.
  10. cookshow's Avatar
    Cost of a watermelon in Ore.
    Cost of a watermelon in Nica
    = difference in land price.
  11. MizBrown's Avatar
    I had an educational last week or so on this very issue. One house that was $25K when talking to Nicaraguans turned into a $50K house when I showed up with a Nicaraguan friend.
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