To be frank we do not think about gardening because we manage to get our daily supplies readily from general stores or supermarkets that exists at every corner. But have you ever wondered, how these fruits and vegetables seem to retain their bright colour even after many days?
Nowadays plants across the world are being sprayed with chemical pesticides and other substances to help maintain their quality for retail purposes. Now with fruits and vegetables being imported from different countries across the world, you can just start to map in your mind the amount of chemicals that would be sprayed on these products for it to last from the time it was plucked, weighed, sorted, transported by an airplane halfway across the world, again sorted and transported to the different wholesalers, which then moves on to the storage of the respective retailers and then finally on to the supermarket shelf. Phew! That took long just saying it.
We as consumers of these products need to realise that it really does damage to our body without us even being aware about it, and that is the sole reason why more and more people are starting to rely on guides of “how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables at home”. The joy of consuming your own fresh produce in its purest form is something that cannot be expressed in words but needs to be experienced. Just by dedicating few minutes of your time to nurture these plants, you are sure to reap the benefits soon.
You would have thought that home gardening in Abu Dhabi would not be possible with how hot and dry the weather gets at times. But it is definitely possible! It is true that we are situated in the middle of the desert but it doesn’t mean that we need large areas of space with greenhouse farming techniques to procure our daily essentials.
Here are 5 easy steps on how to get you started with shaping your very own personal garden.
Choosing a pot for a plant just comes down to basically how big the plant will continue to grow. Small containers are good enough to hold small plants like parsley and mint. It is better to keep them from other deep rooted plants as the bigger plant would pull out more nutrients from the soil leaving very less for the smaller plants.
Initially for smaller seeds, it is always better to use small seed trays with potting soil or compost to germinate them and then transfer it to a bigger pot or container.
Always make sure to put a small hole at the bottom of the container to release any surplus water present in the pot.
2. Getting the right soil
To get the right potting soil, all you must do is get out there and dig up some dirt from your neighbourhood (obviously not desert sand!). A bit wet and loamy soil will do the job. Isn’t that easy?
The next step is what determines how well your crop will grow.
3. Keeping the plants healthy
Maintaining the nutrient level of the soil with ample amounts of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus and keeping the plant free from pests, play a very crucial part to having a healthy crop.
These nutrients are all best found in various animal manures or food compost.
Here are few natural substitutes for those harmful Chemical fertilizers along with the nutrients they are rich in:
If you are looking for an easier way out, just walk into your nearest gardener’s supply store where you can choose from the various organic manure mixes. The shopkeeper will be more than happy to help you with the best that suits your needs.
Homemade organic pesticides are the best and safest way to keep pests from damaging your precious crops. These can even be made from simple stuff available in your kitchen like Neem oil. To know more on how to make your own organic pesticide click here.
4. What do I grow first?
At first it is always good to start with the basics like basil, mint, arugula, ginger, cherry tomatoes, lettuce etc. They can be grown from their stalks or seeds. It is really hard to go wrong while starting off with these plants.
All you need to do is plant the seeds or stalk, make sure it receives a good 6-7 hours of sunlight and water regularly in ample amounts daily. Within the second week you should see that your plants are nearing harvest.
5. Time to go Pro!
Once you have learned the tricks of basic gardening, it’s time to take things to the next level. Now you can go ahead and start expanding your garden by experimenting with various plants.
All you need to keep in mind is the different seasons for various crops. Crops like arugula and basil grow well in mostly every weather. However, they do not like it too cold. While watermelons are a good choice for the December – January period. It is definitely gives big returns with very little effort.
Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants etc. grow best in warm to moderate weather. Certain fruits like figs, grapefruit and lemon can also be produced during this time, but they need to be placed in larger containers as they have bigger roots when compared to the other smaller plants.
Avoid planting during the harsh summer seasons as plants cannot survive intense heat. This period is best to develop your soil with much needed nutrients to yield good produce from the next batch of plants.
It is always good to involve your kids at a young age in the gardening process so that they learn the value and importance of fresh food and pass it on to future generations. If ever you face a hiccup, there are always various guides and tutorials on every plant available online for you to get over any obstacle that you may come across.
It is as easy as that to turn your small backyard into a beautiful garden filled with fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables. Now, if you don’t want to take the pressure of setting up your own backyard garden but still need to eat fresh food, you can always contact the various Gardening and Landscaping services available in Abu Dhabi to give you expert opinions and take up the work on your behalf to give your garden that extra professional touch while you munch on some freshly plucked fruits.