Sunday, October 9, 2011

Another planting season


For both new and returning visitors - welcome to my blog about vegetable gardening in containers (pots) in your yard or balcony in Dubai or anywhere else in the United Arab Emirates or for that matter the other GCC countries as the climate is pretty much similiar.

Welcome back to a new growing season.  It's been a loooong hot summer for me ..... hopefully some of you got away.  Ms. Bubba and I tend to take our breaks from Dubai during other times of the year when all the kids are in school and the tourist crowds have subsided - it's just the two of us.  We will be taking another extended break during the upcoming Eid holidays.

Here in is my problem.  If I plant now then there is no one to water the crops.  During our last trip the person who was suppose to water thing did a miserable job and they all died.  So, this year I will have to wait till I get back by mid-Nov. to plant seeds or hopefully seedlings if I can get it organized properly.  I think it will be too late to plant seeds by mid-Nov.  

So, hopefully you have planted your seeds already and will be planting seedlings soon.  If you have not planted your seeds yet ... here are some help tips.

 Depending on what you might be planting I suggest to Google or You Tube it and ask how to propagate the vegetable by seed.  You will be suprised by the wealth of information you will find.  You could find yourself spending too much time on You Tube watching what other have done and then you will see something else of interest ... and so forth ... and so forth ... and so forth!!!  But, you will definitely find out what you were looking for! 

For example, I plan on planting onions this year but have never done it before so I went to You Tube and typed in "Planting Onion Seeds" and found this helpful video as he explains the different ways to plant onion as well as things to be careful about.

Now,  what nobody seem to talk about in most of the videos I watched and what I thought might be important - just how long till the little sucker come shooting out the dirt!!!  So, after a little more looking around someone mentioned 100 days ... 100 days!!!  So, I guess I will need to plant my onion seeds soon!

I also plan to grow lettuce, summer squash, tamaters and bell peppers this year.  I had no luck with bell peppers last year.  I am going to try to germinate my seeds differently this year.  Last year I planted the seeds directly into the potting soil in my seed pots.  Everyone says that pepper seeds take a loooong time to germinate but in the potting soil it is difficult to see what they are doing.  Maybe after 3 weeks nothing comes up ... is it going to take longer, did the birds eat the seeds or maybe the seed is a dud?!?  Which is it? So this year I am going to germinate them in moist ziplock bags as this lady shows in her video.   Maybe some of you remember doing this in school for one of your science classes.

Some of you, if this is your first time planting vegetables, might be asking "What do I plant my seeds into?"  Well there are many different types of containers you can use ... either store bought or recycling something around the house. But whatever it is ... it needs to have drainage holes in it.  Most anything you buy commerically will have holes for darinage but if you plan to recycle then punch some holes in the bottom of it so water can drain out (I have seen some starter kits in Carrefour).  Another way is to use peat pots or also known as Jiffy Pots.  With peat pots, as soon as the seedlings are big enough you can plant the whole pot directly into the container or ground ... that way you do not disturb or damage the roots.  Another way is using seed trays - they have many cells in which the potting soil goes into and then you plant your seeds into the cell.  Many commerical planters use this method.

In a moment of weakness I bought a couple of tomater plants last weekend at a gardening store while with Ms. Bubba as she looked for some plants for her garden.  Of course, all they know is that it is a tomater plant and that's it ... very helpful!!!  It was palnted in a pot that was a bit big for a seedling so when I transplanted it ... the roots had not spread that much (all this is in 20/20 hind sight) and the soil started to fall off and thus damaged the root hairs and now of course one of them is really struggling to make it.  So the largest size pot to use is like the small pots that the vinca and petunas come in that you can buy in the market ... nothing bigger.  Oh yeah, and use potting soil not sand or dirt (here they like to call it sweet soil). 

Here are some videos about what I am talking about.  In the first one he is showing on the table different size peat pots and plants some seeds in one style of pot.  But, of course he forgot to mention something important ... when you plant the peat pot make sure none of the pot sticks up out of the soil because it will then wick all of the moisture from the plant into the air.  This may mean that you need to tear some of the top off is necessary.  Some folks break open the bottom to help the roots spread out.

Some folks prefer to use seed trays.

Here is the Bayou Gardener's method of planting seeds into Jiffy (Peat) Pots.

He suggest putting two or three seeds in each pot.  Good idea as you never know how many seeds may germinate.  But if they all do or two of them do you will need to decide which one is stronger and cut the smaller/weaker one with a pair of sissors because the two will not grow peoperly together in the small pot. Also note that they talk about watering from the bottom up.  This works pretty good but be sure not to put too much water ... in other words do not leave them in standing water from too long.  If after a half hour or so after watering them and there is standing water in the tray ... it would be best to pour the water out as they have absorb as much water as they are going to.  You want the potting soil to be fairly damp but not soaked.

Another thing to consider is hardening off your seedlings before planting them out in the full sun at this time of year.  You can place the planted seeds out in the sun to help with warming up the soil for quicker germination.  But, after the seeds start to emerge through the soil then look for a place where they get a bit of morning or afternoon sun only.  The noon time heat at the moment will kill them before you know it.

Shumaila left a comment in my previous post about her vegetable gardening and hopes to be blooging about it as well. Let's hope she shares with us how to get to her blog and we can see what she is up to as well.

That's it for now.  Hope this was of some help.  Of course, as usually y'all are most welcome to post any comments and/or helpful hints you would like to share.

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Very good, new techniques in cultivation.

  2. Hi Bubba
    Nice post and good info about sowing. I agree about pepper seeds. Mine came up alright but didn't too well. I am trying again this year alongside tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, lettuce, aubergine, edamame, green beans and some other stuff