Blog Gardening

Urban Gardening : Balcony Gardening in Dubai

Living in Dubai with little space to spare, doesn’t often mean living without any greenery. You can grow an urban garden.

With urban space getting more and more expensive in Dubai, people are opting for apartment living giving up on their dream of having a little green space and growing food and flowers. But now there is an option available to the green thumbs who wish to have their own little garden.

Urban gardening is gaining popularity in Dubai with more and more people getting their hands into the soil with urban gardening. Call it balcony gardening, container gardening, roof top gardening, or whatever else you may, the principle remains the same – growing plants in a limited space in a city, in containers on balconies or rooftops.

Just over a year ago, Dubai’s first urban rooftop garden opened to public. The Urban Garden has sown the seeds of the urban gardening enthusiasm we see today. If you wish to get your hands into soft soil, here is how you can make it possible in your little apartment. With the UAE government coming up with such initiatives as creating contest for self-sustenance rewarding urban farmers for growing their own food it is not a surprise that more Dubai residents are growing their own tiny gardens in their apartments and farms.

What is Urban Gardening?

First thing first, we have to get the concept really clear before we can start planning a garden for ourselves.

Urban gardening is also known as Urban Horticulture or Urban Agriculture. It is the process of growing plants for food or ornamentation within a city. Urban gardening is a very different process than normal gardening, it requires special skills and care for the plants to thrive. The concepts of urban gardening include such unique scenarios like vertical gardening and container gardening. Urban gardening tries to grow plants in as little space as possible, making optimum use of all the space available to create a dream garden.

Why has Urban Gardening Suddenly Become Popular?

The growing popularity of the cconcept can be attributed to many different reason. The chief being the fact that people are becoming more aware of the chemicals and pesticides that are used to grow commercial food. The harmful effects of these chemicals is well known and documented. This may be the driving factor why people are taking to growing their own food. Another reason may be the love for plants and the satisfaction one gets from watching a plant grow and thrive under your care. There is nothing more gratifying than to be rewarded for the care and patience by a delicious fruit or a perfectly formed vegetable or the lovely flowers that greet you in the morning.

Some people may consider turning to urban gardening to supplement their food supplies by food they grow cutting down the money spent on buying food. Whatever the reason for creating an urban garden the fact remains, a little bit of greenery in the midst of a concrete jungle is very soothing to the eye.

Whatever reason you may choose to start a vegetable garden in your urban house, the fact remains that gardening is one of the greatest stress busters. Microbe in the soil and the exercise that working in your garden provides, can help you healthy and living longer and more fruitful life – literally.

Hire a Garden Maintenance Service or a Gardener

If you have a gardener coming in to help you, he can tell you all about the growing seasons in Dubai and what does well here and what doesn’t. if you are the DIY types, and wish to go solo and do it yourself, my advice is join a gardening group or hire a gardener at least for one season so you can learn how to do, what to do and more importantly when to do. If you need a gardener, you can hire one from It has a comprehensive list of gardening services and garden maintenance services on its website. You can compare prices, services and pick a gardening service local to you on their website. What’s even better is that you can follow all that your gardener does on an app and pay for the services online. You can even look at the feedbacks and recommendations for the services and pick one that appeals to you easily and quickly from the comfort of your home.

Preparing for the Growing Season

The growing season in Dubai starts in August. This is the time when you need help with the cleaning, clearing, pruning, etc. if you have a patch of garden you can call on a part time gardener to come and prune your trees and hedges in preparation for the sowing season.

This is the time when you need to prepare the soil for the plants and seeds that you will be planting later when the weather gets cooler in September. If you are planning on a roof top garden or a container garden, this is the right time to refresh the soil in the containers and prepare them for the seeds/seedlings you would be planting in them. For existing plants and trees, prune the excess growth feed the soil with fertilizer and take care with diseases and pests that may spoil your harvest.

For container garden choose the size of the container according to the tree or vegetable you plan to plant in it. You do not need to buy expensive pots and containers to use for your patio of balcony garden. You can use and recycle almost all the cartons, cans, and bottles you have and use them as containers for plants. Make sure that your container has adequate drainage. There is nothing more harmful for a plant than water logged soil. You can either buy pre-made potting mixture that contains all that a plant may require to grow. It has the ideal amount of porosity to sustain most plants. You may add extra nutrients to individual pots later depending upon the plants you have planted in them.

What to Grow

For the September sowing season, warm weather vegetables do well. You can plant vegetables like, capsicum, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumber, etc. If you so feel like it and have enough space for larger containers, you can also grow squashes and pumpkins. Also for larger containers, you can try growing fruits. Citrus trees like lemon, lime, orange, mandarins, grapefruit, guavas and figs do well. The dwarf variety of Pomegranates and mangoes also do well in containers. Other things that you can grow are herbs such as mint, coriander, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, chilli, etc. can also be grown easily in containers. If you are feeling adventurous and have help, you can try growing your own onions, garlic and ginger. All three do well in containers. Lettuce and other salad leaves are another good option. You can have your own home grown salad.

Equipment You Will Need

In order to be able to raise a garden and get a decent harvest from it, you will need a few basic things. 1. Gardening tools – hoe, fork, digger etc. 2. Gardening gloves 3. Watering can/hose/drip irrigation system 4. Pruner 5. Secateurs 6. Twine/stakes/sticks for training vines and supporting plants 7. Potting soil 8. Fertilizer 9. Sprayer 10. Seeds, etc. amongst other things. As you grow your garden you will realize that you will need a few more things and you can keep adding to your collection.

Challenges For Urban Gardeners

The biggest challenges that any urban gardener in Dubai faces is that of extreme heat and saline water. Moreover, the sandy soil of the area is poor in nutrients and not conducive to growing anything but the desert plants. These difficulties can be overcome with the right approach and knowledge. The fertility of the soil can be increased by adding compost and organic fertilizers. As far as diseases and pests go, growing companion plants and using organic alternatives to the chemical pesticides can help to overcome these problems.

We hope that our post will inspire you and help you to grow food or flowers in your own little urban garden. In case you need more guidance, you may contact us. Keep reading blogs for more interesting articles.

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