The winter growing season in Qatar is from October to April, and if you have not yet started sowing seeds or planting seedlings, the time to start is now.
One of the most rewarding things about gardening is to grow your own vegetables. Whether you have an outdoor garden space or a small balcony, multiple growing options are available to suit your garden space.
Whether you are a new or experienced gardener, it is always a journey of learning, growing, sometimes failing, but it is always a rewarding experience.
These are our TOP 5 tips on how to best prepare for the vegetable growing season:
- Soil Matters
Refresh existing garden soil with compost or vermicompost. These products are available at gardening stores and plant nurseries in Qatar, or you can utilise homemade compost.
For planters and pots, a good soil mix comprises 1/3 coco peat/coir, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 good quality compost. Mix well and ensure that the soil is moist but not drowning in water.
- Location, Location, Location
Plant according to the amount of sunlight you get in your garden space.
Sun-loving vegetables include tomatoes, okra, eggplant, corn, green beans and cucumber. These can also tolerate partial-sun-shade areas, but they might yield less produce.
Many vegetables are shade tolerant; some include broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots and garlic.
A wide selection of herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano) and flowers such as marigolds can also be planted as companions to repel pests away from your vegetable plants naturally.
- Seed Selection
There is a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to plant during the growing season. Select seeds according to the space you have available. Some plants like tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers require a trellis and other plants like broccoli, zucchini and cabbage can grow quite large, so it is always good to keep in mind, when selecting your seeds, what the mature plant size would be and the support or care it would require.
Locally produced seeds from Mitras can be purchased in their store and local nurseries such as Floranza and the Garden Center. When ordering heirloom seeds online, always get heat-tolerant seed varieties and select seed packets with the most recent packing date; this will provide a higher success rate during the germination process.
If you are a new gardener, start small and add more gardening tools as you progress on your gardening journey. Some of the essential tools you will need are gloves, a garden fork, a small or medium-sized spade or shovel, a garden hose or watering can and pruning shears.
Check the Hadiqaa Gardening Businesses Directory for a complete list of local suppliers in Qatar.
- Join a Gardening Community
Being part of a gardening community is a great way to share your gardening journey and connect with like-minded individuals and fellow gardening enthusiasts. It’s a great way to share knowledge, swap seeds, swap or share seedlings or even share your harvest if you have grown too many vegetables.
You can join the Gardening Club – Qatar group on Facebook, or if you are already a member of the community, why not invite your friends to join.
The most important thing is to have some fun, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your gardening journey!