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Posted On: 21 February 2015 08:31 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Expert provides tips for growing organic vegetables

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Growing organic vegetables and other plants at home in Qatar can be achieved by using good quality potting soil free from any chemical fertiliser and a well-shaded greenhouse, a senior official of a landscape contracting company told Gulf Times.
“We recommend peat moss imported from Germany," said Abdalla Sami, who was part of the Yalla Natural Roadshow organised by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) on Doha Corniche.
"Soil composition is one of the keys to a successful organic cultivation in Qatar," he explained on the sidelines of the roadshow which attracted a large number of visitors. The activity is part of WCMC-Q’s Your Health First initiative.
Chicken manure and organic fertiliser sold in some nurseries can also be added to the soil, according to Sami.
With summer just around the corner, a small, well-shaded home for the plants on the terrace would be enough to withstand the hot weather, he pointed out.
“Plants should not be under direct sunlight. In our case, we buy good quality materials for the shade such as green nets to properly cover the plants,” said Sami.
Tomato, onion, radish, pepper, arugula, eggplant, parsley, cilantro and cucumber are some of the plants that can be grown in Qatar.
Seeds which can be bought in most supermarkets are imported from Egypt, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain.
A packet costs about QR4 while the soil, available mostly in nurseries, is between QR25 and QR30. Besides schools, a number of small greenhouses have also been built in some villas in Doha, Sami said.
He said organic cultivation is also becoming popular among many residents, especially those who have sufficient space in their accommodation.
Egyptian expatriate Yasser told Gulf Times that he started planting after the Qatar National Day last year when his brother gave him packets of seeds.
“I also taught my kids how to grow plants and take care of them since I am busy at work. They really enjoy doing it,” he added.
Rafael Angeles, an overseas Filipino worker, also tried growing a few plants (tea herbs) before but he failed to maintain them. But he plans to continue it and at the same time mulls starting an organic farm back home.
Like Yasser, his compatriot Walid Hamad was also inspired to start organic cultivation at his flat despite his busy schedule. He also teaches his children how to take care of the plants.
“This activity is fantastic because they are encouraging the people the healthy way of producing chemical-free vegetables,” he said.
The Yalla Natural Roadshow trailer will be at the Sealine Qatar Olympic Winter Camp on February 26 and 27. It will then move to Aspire Zone on March 5 and 6 and be at Katara on March 26 and 27.