Ask a Question forum: Growing seeds in Extreme Weather

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Name: Tam basel Basel
Saudi Arabia
Organic Gardener
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tambasel
Aug 24, 2016 7:55 AM CST
Hi Everyone,

I'm Tam, Canadian expat working in Saudi Arabia.

Great to be a member at the National Gardening Association even though i am currently residing in Saudi Arabia!

My questions is as follows, Does anyone have experience in growing fruits and veggies in a city or has lived in a country that has extreme hot weather during the summer time? if so, I would like some tips on growing during this season. I started some eggplants, peppers, ginger, beets, basil and a bunch of other veggies from seed in March and till now nothing has fruited, actually most of the veggies died except the eggplants and the peppers which still survive with very little foliage but have not yet produced anything. Will they survive till the next season and fruit or should I start seeds again now hoping for the weather to cool down a bit for them to flourish? at the moment the weather here is fluctuating between 40 Celsius to 50 Celsius and Humidity goes up to 60% !! so pretty hot during the day and at night too. The weather will started dropping and cooling down in Sept so im hoping that this will help.

Everywhere i read says, start your seeds before last frost indoors then transplant after the last frost, the problem is we dont have a frost here, just extreme heat ! so any tips or advice would be great. also tips on which seeds I can start outdoors now under shade in this extreme weather would you all suggest?


Thanks and looking forward to hearing your responses.


Thank,

Tam
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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Aug 24, 2016 7:58 AM CST
Welcome Tam! There are members here from hot places who grow winter gardens and start seeds inside when it is hot, then transfer outside when it cools. I'm not one of them, but they should be around to say hi and give advice.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 24, 2016 9:14 AM CST
Hi Tam, Welcome! to NGA!

Living in a place like Saudi Arabia gives you the luxury to start seeds any time and keep them alive year 'round.

The root veggies should be grown during the coolest months of the year but the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are perennials. If you get them started, they will live for multiple years.

If you are growing in containers, the containers need to be large (at least 10 - 15 gallons) and insulated. Most plants hate hot roots. Wrap them with some sort of insulating material or find thick, double walled pots.

Water is crucial and will have to be done everyday in the hottest months of the year.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 24, 2016 9:50 PM CST
Welcome to garden.org, Tam. Just checked the world map and it looks like the northern part of Saudi Arabia is about the same latitude as here in Florida. So although our weather is moderated a lot by the water around us, the sun's intensity will be similar. Whereabouts in Saudi are you?

As Daisy says, you can grow lots of things year round, as I can here. But I've found the only things that will do well through our summers are eggplants, basil, certain tropical varieties of beans like the Asian "yardlong" beans, and peppers. There are some tropical squash, but we have other issues with squash plants here that you might not have, too. Tomatoes don't tolerate the high night time temperatures. If they survive at all, they stop setting fruit if it stays above 70 at night, so it's really no fun to grow them. I have just started new tomato seeds for the fall garden, and as long as we don't get too many cold nights, my tomatoes keep on bearing right through until about May here. Some tomatoes also go into 'heat dormancy' if the day temps are above 100 for a sustained time (as I'm sure you get). So I'd say fall through spring are your good times for tomatoes.

We do get some nights down into the 40's and very rarely 30's here. If you get some cold nights, and you're growing warm-weather crops like the above, they will need some protection, just an old sheet or blanket, or something to hold the heat from the ground around them during the coldest part of the night.

Otherwise starting seed in about October, you can happily grow cool season things like root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, and greens. They might appreciate some shade in the very middle of the day, but the cool night temperatures will keep them happy. The one thing I really haven't had success at growing here is lettuce. We often have temps into the 80's well into December, and this causes the lettuce to taste bitter. I substitute other greens like spinach, mustard greens, arugula and kale that are more tolerant of warm days.

Thinking about shade in the middle of the day, anything you're growing through the summer's heat will also do better if you can give them at least a little shade through mid-day. A piece of shade cloth, strategically located so that the plants get morning and afternoon sun would be perfect. Partial shade from say 11am to 3pm will help keep them a lot cooler and also reduce your watering chores a lot. A mist system on a timer would be really great, but probably your water is very precious so that would be too much of a waste of water.

Sorry for the rambling thoughts.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 25, 2016 10:53 AM CST
Hi Tam ๐Ÿ˜Ž First thing id do is get all my survivors under shadecloth.asap. And!
"" they'll be back"" and dont think of what or when to plant in Canadin terms. Its like this: would you plant tomatoes in Canada in jan or feb. As we do hear in the central san Joaquin valley ! Hear were gettin ready to plant fall an winter crops.of which i dont know that where your at any of them will grow. When and what are your coolest temp.months and temp.variances in thoughts months. Isn't Saudi's winters like a mild summers day ? Based on that assumption and you saying its gonna start cooling off next month ๐Ÿ˜Ž POW # I'm gonna guess that RIGHT NOW is time to plant tomatoes peppers squash etc. And yumm! My favorite okra ๐Ÿ˜›!!! I bet if you had planted okra with the peppers and eggplant the okra would still be growing. Okra loves da heet ! Although there are some that disagree with me. Ive no problem grow it in 100 to 110 degree weather hear . we all can help you better with more info especially high and low temps for both summer and winter.
Ok ? NOW ! Go get some shadecloth.
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž The cool gardener ! Welcome! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Tam basel Basel
Saudi Arabia
Organic Gardener
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tambasel
Aug 28, 2016 8:46 AM CST
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your replies. Great advice. I actually put a shade cloth a few weeks ago on the veggies,

Eggplants are giving out new growth. They were stunned for a few months and dropped 3/4 of the leaves but now seems like they are starting up again. I also have one in direct evening sunlight just as an experiment and it still is the same also giving out slow new growth. Weird huh!! Im starting out a few varieties indoors for this month and will transplant end of Sept outdoors.

i had success with Avocados in the past indoors but took them out in the wrong time during summer and fried them up lol. So im starting 2 new seeds indoors in water and hoping they will shoot out some roots by next month to transplant outdoors.

As for my peppers. I cropped a few leaves off hoping that this encourage them to give out new leaves during this period. keeping them in the shade as well the entire time which gives them a bit of light. Im also trying to germinate some needs now to give me a kick start in Oct to transplant them outside.

I threw a few dragon fruit seeds in potting soil and kept them under a light in my kitchen they just sprouted 2 weeks ago so that will also be an experiment as i never saw dragon fruit being sold in the farmers market locally. Always imported.

Thanks a lot guys.

One more questions. Does anyone have any experience in air layering. I'm going to try to air layer my existing mango and see what happens Smiling . Maybe this is the wrong discussion but if anyone has experience in airlayering I can use that Smiling

Thanks again

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 28, 2016 9:30 AM CST
Tam, how long are you going to be working in Saudi? Starting an avocado from a seed, IF it can survive the hot temperatures there at all, it still will give you fruit in 5 years at the soonest, and more likely 7 or 8. That's how long it takes here, in pretty much ideal climatic conditions for them. Our high temperatures in summer are usually mid-90's F at most. Very high humidity. Dragon fruit also grows well here, but it needs full sun to make nice fruit, so again a strategic placement and mid-day shade is going to be required for you to grow that.

Mango start easily from seeds - the big pit of the fruit, laid sideways on some soil and kept moist. But again you have the long wait for a tree to get to fruiting size. Maybe not quite as long as the avocado, but close. I'd hate to see you get discouraged by waiting and waiting for those. Then just when they get to a size to fruit you move back to North America? arg.

Stick to annual vegetables and fruits you can start quickly from seed and see a harvest in the same year. Or eggplants and peppers - the peppers should be able to take at least some direct sun at this time of year, and they need it to fruit. Just water them heavily every day (in the morning is best) and fertilize diligently.

How about some melons? They love high temperatures but need a LOT of water to produce good fruit. Um, how much room do you have? Melons are a rambling vine sort of plant but you can support them up of the ground if you need to - an old ladder or some such frame will work well.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Tam basel Basel
Saudi Arabia
Organic Gardener
Image
tambasel
Aug 29, 2016 2:58 AM CST
Hi Elaine,

I read that Avocados take a long time to fruit but thats ok im here for a while.

My family has been in Saudi Arabia for very long time and we are foreign investors here so we have a company. Therefore, i think ill be in Saudi for long time. Regarding space i have around 144 m2 area to plant in which have already planted young fruit trees in June around 4 high and all are growing slowly. I planted 2 Figs, 1 Pakistani mulberry, 1 Banana, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 lemon, 1 Moringa, 1 Almond I believe and got 2 papayas but both were too young and died for some reason, they were hollow in the middle of the branches, still trying to figure out what happened there, i think some sort of insect ate the inside part. I also have 1 mango tree in my front yard. well not really my front yard but i planted it there 2 years ago and the gardener just watered them daily and they gave 2 mangoes in March. He just stuck it in the ground and watered that's it.

So far nothing except the older mango tree gave any fruits as the others were planted recently. I watched some videos online and lots of people suggested organic fertilizing and rockdust ( which is not available ) so im experimenting with lime stone instead to see what happens. nothing died so far so im guessing its working. They also suggested Microrysae which is not available here too but could be grown i believe . Worm Castings is also something i heard lots of people use so I want to try making my own little worm farm later on. Can I use earth worms which are already in my soil now to start the worm farm? Ill keep it for a later stage. needs more research Smiling

Thanks again for the reply Smiling

Tam

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 29, 2016 6:28 AM CST
Ah, I see you are much farther along with your garden than I thought. Wonderful!

As far as good soil amendments, my favorite is alfalfa pellets which might be available to you. They are used as horse food here and come in 50lb. bags. Arabia is famous for its horses, right? They will also introduce the micro-organisms you are needing for healthy soil. If you can't get the pellets, you can get it from the horse - horse manure is great as an amendment. But you do need to let it compost for a little time before you put it directly on plants as it will have a lot of ammonia compounds in it that can burn your foliage.

The papayas do grow naturally with a hollow stem like that. They need a lot of water and may have expired due to the high temperatures. Again, you might be successful if you grow them under shade cloth, and mulch the root zone thickly with organic material.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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stone
Aug 29, 2016 5:21 PM CST
I think you are on the right track with papaya and mangos...

Maybe consider watermelons and sweet potatoes and okra.
Possibly yacon.
And cassava.

Maybe cow peas.

I don't think you are gonna grow snow peas or radish... Ever.

Or... Wait...
Winter is coming...
How cold does it get?

[Last edited by stone - Aug 29, 2016 5:23 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1256939 (10)
Name: Tam basel Basel
Saudi Arabia
Organic Gardener
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tambasel
Sep 1, 2016 2:30 AM CST
Ill Try the alfaalfa for sure, heard a lot about it. I do mulch heavily with leaves and hay and i now have earth worms :D When i started my ground was pure sand after so much soil and mulch and compost i was super happy when i was planting the new fig and saw earth worms :D can i use these worm to start making worm castings or the worms have to be the red wigglers. Those are brown :s

Have you ever used Humic Acid before? is it good for all fruit trees or specific to some in your opinion?

Stone:

Its 48 C now next month itll drop to mid-low 30's and start dropping from there till it reaches 8 or 10 C i think. So not too cold compared to Montreal !!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 1, 2016 5:57 AM CST
All earth worms make worm castings. No need for them to be red wigglers. If they are in your soil, you are doing well! With your temperatures that high, I would think you'd have to do your vermicomposting indoors to keep the worms happy. They like cool-ish temperatures and outdoors they will be retreating down into the soil to keep cool at this time of year. So maybe wait until it's winter to try that experiment. It's not something I'd want to be doing inside my house.

I think your soil is already making Humic Acid for you, if you're composting lots of organic materials into it. Just keep amending with the leaves and hay, If you build soil, it will come . .

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 1, 2016 9:23 AM CST
Hi Tam... Good progression you've made.
Somebody's gonna be lucky when you move. Qs? Is 8c the coldest nite temp it ever gets and what month ?
Thumbs up ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Name: Tam basel Basel
Saudi Arabia
Organic Gardener
Image
tambasel
Sep 3, 2016 2:44 AM CST
Thanks Dyzzy

Philip, i know i keep thinking about that Sad but im thinking as long as i have a business here ill be living in here. I might as well buy a place here as wev been here for so long. If i do im gona transplant everything hopefully .

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