While Dubai's climate might make it more difficult, growing your own veggies and herbs here isn't impossible
30 July 2013| Last updated on 19 January 2020
We all know we need to eat more vegetables and you may be a bit sick of the sight of some of the sorry specimens on shelves here; so why not grow your own? Obviously, we have to contend with the desert extremes, so what you may grow in your home country might not work here but there are lots of options for willing green fingers.
You can get seeds here for many types of vegetables and herbs in the market. Before you buy, consider whether you would actually want to eat that particular vegetable or herb, how big it will grow to before it can be harvested and whether it is a trailing plant, climbing plant, underground plant or a shrub.
You don’t need a villa with a garden to have your own veggie patch you can grow in pots on your apartment balcony too.
What will grow in the UAE
- Chilli plants
- String Beans
- Lemon Grass
What you’ll need
- Seeds- available from super markets or garden centres.
- Small pots for seedlings - it’s better to start the seeds off in something small so they don’t get swamped and lost.
- Potting soil - you can get from garden centres.
- Fertiliser - look for an organic one.
- Larger pots for when it’s time to transplant the seedlings.
- Stakes - cane or plastic - to support your growing plants.
- Watering can - it’s more fun to water with a can!
- Shelter for high summer - you can use a rigged up sheet, parasol or canopy to give your plants shelter during the peak months.
Gardening can be both enjoyable and rewarding. If you have kids get them involved too; they love to plant seeds and watch them grow. You can get some sunny sunflowers on the go too to add a splash of colour to your garden or balcony. Research online the best times for planting and bear in mind we only really have two seasons here - winter and summer.
You could take all this self-sufficiency one step further if you’ve got a garden and get some chickens… imagine getting fresh eggs from your garden! That’s a whole other article. For now, happy growing!
Try a sprouter
Not got a balcony or a garden? Don’t despair; there are things you can grow inside too. A stacking terracotta sprouter looks good in the kitchen and grows cress so quickly; perfect for those egg and cress sandwiches- just in time for the tennis! In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying the crunchy goodness of home-grown sprouts with every meal! You can eat the sprouts of alfalfa, radishes, chia seeds, sesame seeds and so much more.