Author Topic: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience  (Read 1688 times)

DrJohnH

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Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« on: December 02, 2017, 13:26:33 »
Well, as a couple of you might know, Iím in Saudi biding my time and learning as much as I can about gardening before finally moving to the UK and getting my first (UK) allotment.

In the meantime an interesting opportunity to have an allotment on the residential camp ďCommunity FarmĒ came up.  The surroundings are an amazing garden retreat with a broad diversity of plants.  A very impressive tropical paradise.  The bougainvilleas are especially beautiful at this time of year.

I wasnít really prepared for the new venture, but had an odd assortment of seeds in the back of a drawer and some plants from my patio.  Anyway, I thought ďwhat the heck Iíll have a go!Ē.  I was shown first to a huge shared greenhouse/shade house and left my packets of seeds (a couple of tomato varieties, broccoli, perpetual spinach, turnips, lettuce- I told you it was an odd assortment) in there, then was shown to my plot.

The plot is about 12 square meters surrounded by nice paving and the soil (well sand with a bit of peat in it) was already prepared.  Not a weed in sight and level as a billiard table.

I took a couple of bulbs of garlic along that I had from the supermarket and planted the cloves in a nice line (I know, I know, but remember- itís "what the heck!").  The gardeners were highly amused to see a westerner doing a bit of gardening, but I thought no more of it.  I think someone made a film to go on YouTube though I donít know if I will make the cut as I was wearing (knee revealing) shorts. 

I then thought about planting the turnip and perpetual spinach seeds directly out into the plot.  The plot manager called for my turnip and spinach seeds which were duly brought out and I popped them in.  A generous friend brought along 15 tomato plants and eight aubergine plants and we put those in also.  I also took along a couple of small pepper plants, rosemary and a two basil plants from the patio so I planted those as well.  We will have to see how the plants do as there was a strong drying wind and 24 deg C today and everything was wilting as I left even though the plot had a big drink of water (yes I was allowed to do that).

Anyway, on returning to the greenhouse all my remaining seeds had been neatly planted up!  Not really what I had in mind, but anyway I guess the staff didn't want me getting all dirty.

The gardeners assigned to me will apparently water and weed daily and I am expected to visit the plot periodically to inspect progress- but the garden is only open in working hours and at the weekend so I suppose Iíll just stop by and do a token amount of watering when I get the chance on Fridays and Saturdays.

Iíll keep you posted as to my (well, their) progress

Itís a funny old world.    :glasses9:

Allotments 4 All

Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« on: December 02, 2017, 13:26:33 »

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 22:01:04 »
Be interested to learn of your crop return. How easy to source manure? Camel? Do you need to fund the servants, or will you expect to pay them in produce?
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

Digeroo

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 10:46:03 »
I think I would like to grow things you cannot here in UK.  Ginger.  Sweet Potato.

Do keep us posted.  The heat and sunshine will presumably present huge challenges.

There were plenty of piles of camel do in Egypt.  It seemed to attract Hoopoe.  Who seem so pristine but actually love muck raking.

12 sq meters is not very large, can you go vertical?

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 13:51:56 »
I think I would like to grow things you cannot here in UK.  Ginger.  Sweet Potato.

Do keep us posted.  The heat and sunshine will presumably present huge challenges.

There were plenty of piles of camel do in Egypt.  It seemed to attract Hoopoe.  Who seem so pristine but actually love muck raking.

12 sq meters is not very large, can you go vertical?

Good ideas on ginger and sweet potato.  Maybe melons as well?

If anyone has any more ideas I'm back in the UK at Christmas and can bring some seeds back.  I do want to get all my crops harvested ideally by the end of March which is a short time after my Christmas break (three months).

I have bit of rocky land behind my house with loads of Hoopoe- they are my favourites (as are the Bee Eaters).  Also tons of ring necked parakeets and desert foxes at night.   There is a horse stables here but it might be too late to put manure down this season.

Space might not be a problem as I'm sure I can cadge plot space off people who get bored- and there's masses of room in the green/shade house...


DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 13:56:46 »
Be interested to learn of your crop return. How easy to source manure? Camel? Do you need to fund the servants, or will you expect to pay them in produce?

I think the returns might be hard to track as I will share most stuff as it is ready.  The gardeners get paid but not much so we will supplement their pay with cash and also give them produce.

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 20:39:32 »
I think I would like to grow things you cannot here in UK.  Ginger.  Sweet Potato.

Do keep us posted.  The heat and sunshine will presumably present huge challenges.

There were plenty of piles of camel do in Egypt.  It seemed to attract Hoopoe.  Who seem so pristine but actually love muck raking.

12 sq meters is not very large, can you go vertical?

Good ideas on ginger and sweet potato.  Maybe melons as well?"

Compost the manure, if you can get a heap watered, the higher ambient temperature  will speed the process.
Ginger is grown from a tuber, "root ginger" sold in greengrocers and markets in Uk. Asian grocers in Saudi?








Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 06:41:27 »
I think I would like to grow things you cannot here in UK.  Ginger.  Sweet Potato.

Do keep us posted.  The heat and sunshine will presumably present huge challenges.

There were plenty of piles of camel do in Egypt.  It seemed to attract Hoopoe.  Who seem so pristine but actually love muck raking.

12 sq meters is not very large, can you go vertical?

Good ideas on ginger and sweet potato.  Maybe melons as well?"

Compost the manure, if you can get a heap watered, the higher ambient temperature  will speed the process.
Ginger is grown from a tuber, "root ginger" sold in greengrocers and markets in Uk. Asian grocers in Saudi?

Got a piece of fresh ginger the size of my hand yesterday- what do I do with it?  Just bury it whole a few inches down, or break it up in to a few pieces first?  I might put 1/2 in the greenhouse and 1/2 outside...

Digeroo

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 07:42:20 »
Ginger tends to just sprout if you leave it around.   So yes if you plant it will probably just grow.  I tend to leave it about the place and find it has started to grow and then and put on a sunny window sill.   But I think it should be ok outside where you are.  There are quite a lot of instructions if you google growing ginger.

Not sure we need all the quotes,  I am finding it difficult to see the wood from the trees.

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 07:46:03 »
Sorry about the quotes- I am a bit new to this.

Digeroo

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 07:55:17 »
It was more necessary to have quote when there were more members and you were replying to something on a previous page.  But unfortunately we are becoming thin on the ground.  I think people have migrated to facebook.

Vinlander

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2017, 13:45:06 »
Here in the UK some ginger is treated to stop it sprouting, but here there are so many sources it's easy find some that is already sprouting - it may be that local markets will have more fresh untreated stuff.

On the other hand, slovenly and/or less popular grocers are the best place to look for roots that are sprouting because they have had more time.

I would choose to grow crops that are:
 
Firstly: stuff you love that's do-able but isn't available retail I bet you get fantastic coriander etc. - but how about rocket?

Secondly: good stuff that's always crap in the shops - here that means European (not Asian) plums and proper old-fashioned flavour-sweetcorn (not stupid-sweet sweetcorn) - it depends on what you get there - if there's something you really like but it's tasteless in the shops then grow that. Having tried green beans imported from points east and/or south of the Mediterranean - I'd say you could do them a lot better.

Thirdly: cash in on the climate - I would grow the types of chillies you simply can't get here - that means "seasoning chillies" that taste like a scotch bonnet but have little heat so you can put in loads - Trinidad Perfume is the best one - strong flavour, no heat and a hint of apricot, but Tobago Seasoning is good and earlier if you don't mind a bit of heat (less than a jalapeno).

I would look at fruit - check out the CRFG website (.org) and see what plants are available (probably from Egypt or Israel) - I'd be very tempted by the incredibly delicious yellow pitaya/pitahaya (google Selenicereus megalanthus - sometimes called Hylocereus but beware, there's a yellow form of the ordinary dragonfruit that is far, far inferior).

It wouldn't be fair to say you've been given lemons (maybe grapefruit?) so you can do far better than lemonade.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2017, 16:53:32 »
Thanks Vinlander- great tips- I/we have recently got lemon and lime trees in, a 5 foot (!) tomato plant (put big tomato in the greenhouse as it has been very windy).  I put in the ginger.  The weather has been very cool (chilly for here- 10 degrees at night), dry and windy and the tomato and aubergine plants outside have suffered terribly. 

We can get some good fresh herbs here, but I/we sowed some seed (see below).

I soaked the ginger I had overnight and it swelled up a lot- I planted it outside on Saturday.  I/we planted some corn and some herb seeds in modules in the greenhouse also. 

I am about to go on break until January so we will see how things get on for the next three weeks.  I will see what seeds I can get while in the UK.

Paulh

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2017, 10:56:53 »
"I will see what seeds I can get while in the UK."

Stating the obvious and teaching grandmother to suck eggs, but make sure that you can import them back with you! You don't want to join Boris Johnson's visiting list.

Vinlander

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2017, 11:39:21 »
If you're based in Saudi and don't visit Jordan (eg. Petra) - well, that would be crazy (even right now despite "the Donald" - there must be some money in car stickers: "Donald Duck would be better").

Especially as Jordan is a "normal" farming area where all the seeds on sale will be much better suited to Saudi conditions (and much cheaper). You may even find it's possible to bring back plants from there - there's some kind of special relationship but it would need checking.

I'd be happy meeting my family in Jordan (just not the borders), I'd also happily go to Egypt, but I wouldn't expect my family to be that keen.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2017, 14:07:37 »
Jordan is great and highly recommended- we took a trip there a couple of years back while family was still here.  Highlights being Petra (very nice), camping and camel trekking in Wadi Rum, Jerash, Dead Sea, Dana biosphere reserve, Amman etc.  We flew, but I have colleagues who drive up there (e.g. across to and along the route of the Hejaz railway in one case, but wisely, not to the northernmost station).

Anyway, I digress- this is a gardening site after all, and not the travel channel.

I think the climate in Jordan is slightly different from this part of Saudi and I'm also not planning to visit the country any time soon-especially the North Eastern part :-).

I have friends who have farms here in Saudi and apparently watermelons do especially well.  I shall ask around for some seeds.

Thanks for the tips.

Digeroo

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2017, 22:38:30 »
Went to Petra a few years ago when I stayed in Taba went across to Jordon by boat.  It is quite amazing.   

My last visit to Taba there was something of an incident and the hotel became the headquarters of the UN peace keepers.  Hundreds of armoured cars and soldiers in pale blue helmets.  Taba is out of bounds now.   

Stork

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2018, 17:53:01 »
I lived in Qatar for 10 years and I used to grow a decent amount in my garden in the winter.

I grew lots of tomato varieties and also aubergines and cucumbers. I also had a salad leaves bed that did well. My herb garden was planted up with rosemary, thyme and sage. All did well and the rosemary survives the summer heat as long as you water it.

Best of luck and post some pictures at harvest time.
Have no fear of perfection. You will never reach it. (Salvador Dali)

DrJohnH

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Re: Alternative (surreal) allotmenteering experience
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2018, 19:38:48 »
Thanks for the info- I have grown loads of herbs and tomatoes (and spinach) in the winter on my patio (in buckets and raised beds) in the past few years, but this year is a bit different.  I will check my plot and the shade/greenhouse next weekend to see how things have fared since my Christmas break...

I never managed to get rosemary and other herbs through the summer (salty water and high humidity), but rosemary does great "Up North" in Kuwait...maybe it is the variety they have.

Will keep you posted. 

Cheers :coffee2:!

 

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