San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ministry Offers Hydroponics Courses

THOSE interested in growing theirown vegetables, medicinal and ornamentalplants using hydroponics are invitedto the free classes the Ministry ofAgriculture and Cattle offers once amonth in the northwestern Central Valleytown of Palmares.“Our aim is to improve the quantityand quality of the family diet withoutincreasing costs,” said Luis GuillermoVargas, head of the ministry’s Palmaresoffice, in a statement. “This techniqueuses very small amounts of land not usedfor other types of agriculture.”Agriculture officials in Palmares alsopromote and can provide informationabout using natural, plant-based herbicidesand insecticides instead of chemicalsubstances. For example, Vargas said,Costa Rica has 1,053 plant species possessinginsecticide properties, includingcommon ones such as hot pepper, garlicand onion.The three-day classes, in Spanish, areTuesday through Thursday, 2-5 p.m., thethird week of every month. For moreinformation or to sign up, call 453-5081.

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