Saudi Arabia Garden Photos

In late 2009 we got an email asked if we were interested in working and consulting for a Saudi Prince on his organic farm near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As we were recent ’empty nesters’  a new garden adventure had great appeal. We met the Prince in London for an interview in late November, and in January 2011 went to Riyadh for a  3 week visit to see the farm, tour organic farms and see what could be done. The Prince showed us the utmost hospitality and we saw organic farms- from the world’s largest, to the most charming family farms including those participating in CSAs (community supported agriculture).  We saw incredibly progressive and sustainable practices on highly diversified farms.  All farms had composting operations and wasted no agricultural byproducts, had crops for food and fodder, chickens, sometimes fish, quail, honeybees, date palms underplanted with citrus or barley, extensive vegetables and seed plants. In some farms, trees producing natural insecticidal compounds  and nectar for bees were grown.  On the Prince’s farm, Ben undertook a major clean-up effort with the workers  that was not  greeted with enthusiasm.  We also began the process of  teaching them about proper pruning techniques, drip irrigation, composting, and updated organic practices. Now, in 2011 we have succeeded in completely renovating the six acre farm from flood irrigation to drip irrigation, eliminated many weeds, cleaned up all trash, instigated a composting process, better soil nutrition, heirloom vegetable varieties never seen before in the Kingdom, flowering plants for beneficial insects and pollinators, diversified plantings, and general higher standards of appearance, work and production. Efficiency has been our goal as well as developing healthy soils for healthy plants. We made many friends and great experiences, as  well as learning a huge amount about growing plants in such a hot, arid environment. We also had a tremendous cultural experience with the many wonderful people we met there.  Thank you to the Prince for enabling all us this- it was truly one of our best life experiences. Please see all the details in our blog postings.

Saudi wear

Sunflowers in the desert setting seem natural, though are a new world plant.

garden art

german stipe tomatoes

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