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Gardening in Afghanistan

Hi, This is my first post on the forum.

I am currently working in Afghanistan (Kabul area) and am trying to make a small garden, The soil here can best be described as fine dust and has no nutrients. Everything i have tried to grow dies after a few weeks, it will germinate and grow a few inches, then wilt. The onlt thing I have been sucessful with is Geraniums, I have tried Roses (3 died and only 1 is still growing, Sunflowers, Onion, Lettuce, Squash and some wild flowers. 

I have added local compost but that didn't help much, I would be grateful for any advice on what sort of plants/vegies to grow in dry dusty conditions. Just looking to make our compound more colourful and look like home.

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  • Pennine PetalPennine Petal Posts: 1,540
    Welcome to the forum Budgeio. Sounds as though you have a tough job on your hands, probably in more ways than one! What sort of plants have you seen in the local area? That might give you some idea. I am sure some of our Gardener's who are more expert areas will come up with some suggestions. What will the winter conditions be like?
  • Pennine PetalPennine Petal Posts: 1,540
    Hi again, just put a search into google for flora in Afghanistan, it mentions artemisia, phlomis, nepeta, thyme and mint. also says there are wild tulips. Haven't worked out how to paste the address using an iPad, but you will find it easily on google. Hope this helps with some ideas.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,494

    Hi Budgeio and Good Luck!!!

    My first thought is that these http://www.thompson-morgan.com/flowers/flower-plants/annual-plants/mesembryanthemum-magic-carpt-mixed/p94640TM should grow at least in the spring/summer - but if you get hard winters they wouldn't survive to the following year, but the seeds are not expensive - and although they are fairly drought tolerant you'd probably have to water them quite a bit in your conditions.

    As for veggies - no idea really - the veggies we're used to growing need or sort of climate - have a look and see what the locals are growing.

    I'll have another think and if I come up with anything else I'll post again. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Pennine PetalPennine Petal Posts: 1,540
    Apparently you can grow cabbages and radishes!
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    Creating something 'like home' would be pretty difficult, because England is not Afghanistan. The main difference being the constant rain which makes everything here green.

    Every country has/had its kings, and they always had nice gardens, wherever they were. There are/were some famous gardens in Afghanistan. There's one called the Garden of Babur, once the home of some mogul emperor...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_of_Babur

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/GOB-September_2011.jpg/800px-GOB-September_2011.jpg

    Those flowers look very much like roses to me.

    You could try the sort of annuals that grow in South Africa, or maybe poppies (we all know poppies grow well in Afghanistan). Californian poppies are colourful, easy to grow, and like it hot.

  • BudgieoBudgieo Posts: 7

    Thanks for your comments, We have very cold winters here, went down to -18 this year. Winter goes from late December to late March. Summer tops out around high 30s to low 40s, inbetween that it is up and dow. We are 1800mtr above sea level, so all-in-all not the best growing conditions. I brought back some Coir growning discs and can get seedling growning but they then struggle when out in soil.

    Locally Roses, Geranium grow very well.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,494

    The problem with looking at the grand gardens of the rulers etc is that they had access to cheap/free labour and lots of water, with specialist irrigation systems, and probably lots of stable manure - not sure if Budgieo has these resources image

    It's like us going to Chatsworth and Kew and trying to emulate their gardens - almost anything is possible with sufficient funds - hence all the golf courses in Saudi - http://www.rainbird.com/worldwide/MiddleEast.htm

    Much better to look at the native flora and what's growing in the local villagers' gardens IMHO.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    Now I thought that this was the reason behind the war. The only successful crop that they can grow is poppies and we have said that we do not want them to grow this. I would look at what is for sale locally because they must be growing thatimage

  • Pennine PetalPennine Petal Posts: 1,540
    I just read a really interesting article via google about farmers who are now growing flowers to sell instead of opium poppies. Apparently they can make more money from selling the flowers than they can from the poppies. They seem to be selling them locally, but wouldn't it be great if they could sell their flowers outside the country and earn a better income.
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I believe that the bulk of some varieties of florists' flowers (such as roses) sold in the UK are actually grown on farms in places like South Africa. Although they have difficulties watering them, and there are significant transportation costs, it's still more economical to grow them there than here. Part of the reason may be because of the much lower cost of labour involved in picking. And of course they have reliable weather.

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