How to Grow Plants in UAE?

Al Ardh Alkhadra > Blog > Agriculture > How to Grow Plants in UAE?

You need to remember that 2020 and 21 have been tough for everyone worldwide. The farmers in the UAE and worldwide have been forced to change how they do things in ways that were never imagined. It was also hard to ignore the disruption to food systems. The pandemic highlighted just how unprotected the whole food system was in the UAE. Therefore, it is important for growing plants in UAE, using the latest technologies and methods suitable to the local climate. 

When you drive from Dubai along the countryside, you see a distinct shift in the landscape. Here, the lush green landscape dotted with leafy palm trees is more prominent, and you find the organic farms in these regions. Agriculture in UAE is a fast growing sector.

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Most of these farms practice organic farming using the latest techniques. Most of these organic farms in the UAE use a system of crop separation, also called intercropping. They simultaneously cultivate two or more crops on the same field to keep unwanted pests away. 

So in between rows of eggplant, you may find alternate rows of onions and celery. As each crop invites different pests, the methods applied also vary. Hence this is an efficient way to keep pests from harming the main crop.  

Basic Rules – Growing Plants in UAE

1 Start at the right time

The summer months in UAE may be very harsh, but the cooler, more extended season makes up for that. To ensure the seeds you sow come to fruition, you should remain mindful of season-appropriate vegetables. 

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Cabbage, broccoli, root plants, and even herbs can be started in October and November. Save plants that are very sensitive to heat, especially for the end of November or even the beginning of December. Such plants like spinach and even lettuce need cooler temperatures. 

These veggies will keep your garden lusciously green in the summer. But you need to work with very warm weather to produce tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, courgettes, and even corn. Always time your harvests wisely, so sow your seeds early on, so your veggies are ready for harvest before the heat kicks in. As a thumb rule – sow your plants in October or November. Like radishes and even lettuce, some plants can be sown in succession.

2 Make practical point choice

Taking advantage of Dubai’s pleasant months is a wise choice. You can grow veggies you are keen on eating. Tomatoes and herbs are popular choices but do not coil from trying new plants and alternatives to your favorite. 

You can try growing chard as an alternative to the regularly grown spinach. Give Asian vegetables a try – they grow well and be utilized in some ways. A good option is to practice succession planting so that you will harvest longer. 

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Lettuce, radishes, beans, and even spinach are excellent options. You can also choose some herbs, leafy greens, and leaf lettuces, as they are also in high demand. 

3 Water plants in UAE wisely

During the winter months, plants in UAE will not need to be frequently watered. You can choose the first morning rather than the evening time when watering them. Night-time weather is foggy, which results in undesired humidity.  

Also, note that watering plants in UAE in the dark could lead to plant diseases and disorders thanks to increased humidity. Only germinating seeds, newly potted plants, and even freshly sown seeds might require daily watering. Established or full grown plants got to be watered less frequently, as it inspires deep root growth. This may not only make them stronger but also will train them for the upcoming summer heat.

4 Use appropriate soil

Treat your plants to rich soil and give them good nutrition. You can either buy potting soil. Otherwise, you can create your own by combining equal parts of compost, sand, perlite, and even peat moss or coco peat. 

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Note that with this mix, you can easily provide all the necessary components of good soil: water, drainage, good texture, and even nutrient retention. Whether you make your soil or buy it pre-mixed, it is essential to add organic slow-release fertilizer. You can also use well-aged manure and work it into the soil for two weeks just before planting.

Moreover, you need to use an organic liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. This practice is essential if you are growing in pots rather than farms. Using seaweed extract is also excellent. You can also practice with this schedule: you can alternate weekly between liquid fertilizer and seaweed extract. These can be either sprayed or even watered into the soil, ensuring your plants are thoroughly watered before adding any fertilizer.

Organic Farming – Growing Plant in UAE

A handful of farms in the UAE develop organic produce and contribute to the local food system in their small way all year round. These farmers strive to produce high-quality, great-tasting organic produce for the people in UAE. The pandemic has forced the UAE to look at things differently. Probably due to the disruptions in the global supply chains. 

You need to understand that food security has become a household concern in the UAE. Modern technology is promising but has limitations, especially in agricultural technology and indoor farming methods. 

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Pest management plays a vital role for plants in UAE, probably because of the hot, humid climate. Farmers here use natural techniques to manage pests. They often use the neem tree leaves that are placed in big buckets of water and allowed to sit for hours in the sun. The water is then sprayed on the vegetables growing on the organic farms. 

Benefits of Organic Farming in UAE

Most of the regular non-organic food we consume contain 46 percent residues of one or more pesticides, and their levels are increasing dramatically. Whereas, in 2003 the equivalent figure was just 25 percent. Therefore, you should choose locally grown organic produce. There are several benefits of organic farming in UAE.

Plants in UAE – Role of Technology

You would be surprised to know that more than 90 percent of the land in the Middle East is not suitable for agriculture. As a result, 80 percent of Saudi water resources go to agriculture, while it only contributes to 2 percent of the GDP. 

In today’s era, fighting climate change means you need to embrace modern farming practices. Remember that sustainable development in the agricultural sector is only achievable by these modern techniques.

Desert terrain prevalent in the UAE, with high temperatures and limited rainfall, makes agriculture even more difficult. However, that is set to change with new technology. Most companies in Dubai are discovering and implementing ways to grow locally-sourced produce. However, it might be a challenging job. 

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With the arid climate of UAE and the availability of limited cultivable land, the problem is all more pronounced. Additionally, scarce water resources speak volumes about the future of food security in the region. But amidst all such constraints, the UAE government has taken decisive action. These actions help to address the challenges of this strategic issue. 

Most of the farms in the UAE stand to benefit from home farming solutions in spite of the country’s agricultural challenges. Interestingly, nearly 90 percent of UAE’s food supply is imported from other countries. Under such conditions, it makes the concept of self-sufficient farming ideal, if not a necessity. 

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A few years back, The UAE government launched its National Food Security Strategy just a few years ago. Their main aim was to boost the country’s future domestic supply. Moreover, it is a great diplomatic initiative in developing foreign partnerships that may lead to diversifying food sources.

Plants in UAE: Importance of Localization in Agriculture Technology

Most farms in UAE or startups have realized that research & development is the key to long-term success in this sector. The primary issue with agricultural technology products is that the local env plays a significant role in it.

In simple words, crops and plants that are being developed worldwide cannot simply be copy/pasted here in the UAE farms. Meaning the products developed in Europe, Asia, or North America were created to succeed in their local environments. 

Therefore, you need to understand that the differences in local env conditions, such as humidity, dust, heat, and overall weather patterns is always formidable. It could take a toll on agriculture technology, which effectively means that localization is key to success. 

The local startups need to realize that they should not stand up for any particular technology. Localization means that local startups should strive to grow food that the UAE market needs. They should commit to developing local knowledge to ensure the long-term health and success of the local industry.

Hydroponics in UAE – An Alternative

There are a few ways to show that hydroponics in the UAE is an improvement over traditional farming methods. This technique is widely popular in the UAE because of its numerous benefits.

1. Greater Yield

Do you know that a hydroponic farming system can grow nutrient-dense produce in more significant quantities? Based on stats, vertical hydroponic farms can grow 240 faster than regular traditional farms.   

This faster growth is primarily attributed to the fact that plants derive their nutrients directly from the water in hydroponic farms. They do not have to leech them from the soil as in traditional farming. Thus, the hydroponic plants grow faster and in an extensive manner.  

2. Less Space Needed

In today’s world, space is premium. Hence growing more food in less space could be a boon. This is what a vertical hydroponic farming system can do. 

An elementary vertical hydroponic nursery can fit into 1.5 acres of space or about the size of 200 car parking spaces. Since it does not require soil, you can build almost anywhere. 

It is true that farmers still sow seeds into the soil, till the fields, apply water, and wait for the harvest season. But today, hydroponics in UAE has taken the agriculture world by storm. Yes, it has been touted as the future of agriculture, especially in UAE. Nothing stops you from building your hydroponics farm at your company’s corporate headquarters. There are endless possibilities, so start today.

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