Hello from Dubai

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by Ghaf, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Ghaf

    Ghaf New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am about to start a PDC. We live on a suburban block in Dubai and have grown our own veg during the cooler months for the past three years. I want to take it to the next level and be producing all year round. I am also particularly interested in the application of permaculture in urban spaces.

    Really looking forward to the learning curve that is coming my way!

    Rose.
     
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  2. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

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    Hello Rose and Welcome,

    I also live in a urban desert environment. Although what I have seen from TV the outskirts of Dubai consist of a lot of sand. We have more desert veg here. I am so excited you will be taking a pdc course! Is there a way I can learn more about your growing system. What are the most important garden technics have you learned with your urban garden/farm? What have been your favorite educational recourses?

    Thank you for sharing!
    Grace
     
  3. Ghaf

    Ghaf New Member

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    Hi Grace,

    Nice to meet you! Dubai is built on sand so our two biggest challenges have been soil creation and finding the right plants to survive the intensely hot summer. Water is very costly here so it can be discouraging when you spend month watering new plants just to have them wither and die over the Summer.

    I'm afraid I can't really suggest any educational resources. I tend to pick the brains of my Dad (the family green thumb) and friends and neighbours. So far it has been a lot of trial and error, but it is a labour of love and I never grow tired of the joy of being able to pick fruit and veg from my own garden. I'm really looking forward to learning more in the PDC. The Greening the Desert Project got me interested in permaculture, prior to that I didn't think there was much you could grown in a desert environment.

    We have been on our plot for three years now and are starting to see some things finally start to take off. Our lime tree has just started bearing fruit. We planted a grape vine by the front door that gets only a few hours of morning sun and it has taken off. We have recently added three chickens to the mix and notice that they are really helping with the soil. We have just caged in our veg garden to keep out the chickens and are planning on covering it with shade cloth to see if we can keep growing through the Summer.

    We seem to be able to grow olives and almond trees easily. We are having trouble getting out mulberry, fig and mango trees to flourish. I'm looking forward to being able to build a garden by design rather than pot luck.

    When we were planting this season's crop we discovered a few earth worms so I think we are on the right track!

    All the best,

    Rose.
     
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  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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  5. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

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    My desert sounds so much more easy to work with now. I have been thinking about what I would do if I had sand to deal with. One of the things I would do is have ducks. Goeff Lawton uses them to seal his ponds. I have some small gravel berms that the water just flows right through. If I had ducks I would use them to seal this. If I was in your climate I would try the same. I would rotate them in a small pen so their droppings and peak digging has an effect. Small, bantam varieties do well in the heat. People here have success with ducks. But I don't personally have the experience in a desert environment. There were some geese in Greening the Desert. Something to think about. Here is a place that sells them and has some info, ashtonwaterfowl.net

    I was able to fill my urban yard with worms. Both earthworms and compost worms. They lived through the summer with 120 F degree weather. The ground temp on the pavement is 180 F. They loved to live under a cover crop of oat grass in the winter and sorghum in the summer. The ants go crazy over the sorghum. So I would toss out some corn grit. This keeps them at bay and the worms love the grit. I would also keep worm farms.

    Of course deep mulch is a must. Also growing plants like sunflowers to dig deep into the earth with their tap roots. They may not do well in sand. The idea is deep roots bring up moisture and the coolness from deep in the ground. I plan to grow mesquite trees as part of my system. They feed the soil, and provide just the right amount of shade in the summer. They would need to be trimmed correctly to do this. Then cut way back in the winter to let the sun come through. The branches can feed rabbits and other animals, be chipped, or composted/mulched. Get the ones without thorns.

    Someone who has success growing figs in the desert here recommended this,
    "Check out black jack for dwarf. Easy to get. Plant with the roots showing maybe 1 inch higher then local grade"

    The fig article Bill (9ABDA1F) mentioned above had some great info about figs!

    The best to you also!
    Grace
     
  6. Ghaf

    Ghaf New Member

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    Thanks 9anda1f,

    I saw the fig article. Looking forward to some home grown figs this season. :)
     
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  7. Ghaf

    Ghaf New Member

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    Hi Grace,

    I would love to try ducks but I think that might be pushing my neighbours a bit too far. Our free range chickens are possibly the loudest hens in existence. I'm lucky they haven't reported us to the municipality yet!

    Love the tip about ground cover for the summer. I'll see what I can find locally. I haven't had any luck with sunflowers as yet. I might see if I can find a different variety. Do you know what variety you are growing there?

    Did I see that you are signed up to do Geoff's online PDC starting in a couple of weeks? I'm also enrolled in that.

    Rose.
     
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  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent! You're going to love it!
     
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  9. Grace Pignatello

    Grace Pignatello Member

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    I didn't even see this was up yet! Oh my

    I assume the sunflowers don't do well because of the sand. They like clay or compacted earth. The weeds that like to grow in sandy loose soil have a loose hairy system. I would then do plants with these types of roots. I don't know about them much.

    I know what you mean about the noise from chickens ect. The small ducks are quieter then chickens. I would get the smallest ones. 4 should be plenty. Maybe even two.

    I am so glad and excited you are doing the online course!!!
     
  10. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Grace,
    I don't think Geoff's 2016 online PDC has opened for general enrollment yet ... keep checking Geoff's weekly emails and his Facebook page, should be soon.
     
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  11. Suhaim khalid

    Suhaim khalid New Member

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    Al salaam alikum.

    I am from doha and often call my self ghaf, you got me confused there for a second.


    I am doing a permaculture project too but in a larger scale. Maybe we can contact each other and help each other out.

    All the best.
     
  12. Ghaf

    Ghaf New Member

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    Wa laykum a salaam,

    I'd love to hear more about your project. Do you have a website or Facebook page with more information?

    Regards,

    Rose.
     
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i am always interested in any projects that are restorative. i wish you
    both much success and joy. :)
     

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