Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Er, so ploughing or hoeing or whatever is really hard work. Basically I'm turning over the earth in which i'm going to plant things, using a fas فأس - because it was packed down all solid almost like concrete, and because since we've not been growing anything in it there aren't many nutrients in the soil.

So it's much slower going than I'd anticipated. I thought I'd be done in no time but even with the help of the building gardener it's only half done, as you can see in the photo (you can also see the bit where I'm going to hang my plantwall). I was impatient to sow some seeds right now, but was told by both dad and gardener that you have to 'air out' the soil in the sun for a couple days first.

It's so much easier in King Mariout, it's a clay-ish sandy-ish (limestone-ish too?) soil there, and we've found you can pretty much poke a hole in it anywhere with your finger, pop a seed in, and it'll grow with minimum fuss and zero prep. You'd think what with being so close to the Nile, the soil in Maadi would be easier to deal with, but it is not at all.

But we'll see what the yields will be like. My guess is that even if the soil is richer, it'll be harder for the plants, because Cairo air sucks. Plus there are way fewer bees - although we hope to attract some with our basil ريحان. 

1 comment:

  1. If the soil is highly compacted you may like to try the "double digging" technique. Google for videos and info about it.

    Alternatively, you might like to consider relieving yourself, and others, from plowing and hoeing altogether by considering "no-till farming".

    Permaculture, a natural ecological based approach
    to farming, also bans tillage altogether which might seem surprising at first. You simply improve soil fertility and physical properties by employing a number of natural techniques including, but not limited to, adding mulch and compost which gradually break down the tough soil, improve its fertility and protect the top soil from the elements keeping the beneficial organisms working in and under the top soil happy.

    I recommend that you have a look at permaculture online, it's a very interesting and natural way to farm that produces interesting results leading to diversity and resilient plant systems while exerting way less effort! We're currently trying to spread permaculture principles and practices all over Egypt.