Cooler months are here and residents have the opportunity to transform their balconies and backyards into personal orchards. From strawberries to exotic pineapples and papayas, growing these fruits not only saves money but also promotes a healthier lifestyle with home-grown organic produce.
Strawberries are grown in the UAE due to their early fruit growth and ripening.. “These plants usually bloom with a white and rarely reddish colour, formed in cluster form. Followed by these flower blooms, within 4 to 5 weeks, fruits get ripened and become edible for consumption,” said Harish Gowda, Agriculturist at souqgarden.com.
If someone begins cultivating strawberries in their backyard now, they could enjoy home-grown, organic strawberries by the first week of November.
“Strawberry plants grow in sunlight and should be watered moderately enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet. The soil is supposed to be well-drained and rich with fertile organic contents,” said Harish.
For the healthy growth of the plant, the temperature around them must be about 14 to 26 degree Celsius.
To grow mulberries in the balcony or backyard, one must select a suitable variety of mulberries. A sunny location with a pot of well-draining soil is required to grow the fruit. “Compost would be required for improved fertility,” said Azeez Ahmed, an agriculturist at Harmony plants in Al Warsan market.
The ideal time for mulberry to grow is during the spring or the beginning of winter season, said Azeez. Mulberry needs to be watered well to grow and mulch to retain moisture. Mulberries generally don't require heavy fertilization, a balanced fertilizer can support their development. “The berries can be harvested during February or March if planted in November. With proper care, the home-grown mulberry tree can yield delicious and nutritious berries,” said Azeez.
Growing lemons at home will require a lot of time, but it is easy to maintain the plants. “These fruit plants may take over a year to bear fruits,” said Harish adding that one must get the plant with fruits grown on it.
Lemon trees perform well in both natural, bright sunlight and partial shade while young in the container. The plants must be watered abundantly in summer, though the consumption of water is lesser during the winter. “The soil on which the tree grows should be rich with organic content with an ideal temperature in between 29 and 35 degrees Celsius,” said Harish.
Pineapple is considered one of the most popular tropical fruits and is known as the golden queen all over the globe and can be grown as a mixed crop in most orchards.
“The optimum temperature to grow the fruit is from 21 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius. “A pineapple plant generally attains flowering stage 11-12 months after planting by which time the plant should have produced at least 40 leaves. The fruit grow well in sandy loam soil,” said Harish.
“Though it is a perennial plant, The winter climate is favourable for its growth in the UAE,” said Harish.
To grow watermelon, one must require a larger place. A balcony or a small backyard will not be sufficient to grow these fruits. “The watermelon creeper grows in a month or two. It fills up the empty spaces,” said Azeez.
Once the creeper is ready to bear fruits, “it takes about 60 days for the fruit to ripe,” said Azeez adding that at the end of the season, one can expect over 30 watermelons with an area of 200 square metres.
However, to make things easy for anthophiles, plants bearing fruits are available all across Dubai. “Getting a plant already bearing fruit makes everything easier for the residents. It’s just that they have to take care and enjoy the organic fruits slightly,” said Harish.
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