WHY DESERT ORGANIC
“Chemical fertilisers are not good for health, and some diseases can be caused by this, which is why we decided to grow organically. Originally we thought it would be very difficult.”
Why Choose Desert Organic?
More than 50 types of crops are grown and harvested according to organic principles each year at BTC’s four-hectare farm.
The growing at BTC is overseen by the agricultural engineer Abdel Moniem, and currently includes kale, celery, fennel, sweet potatoes, capsicums, beans, chillies, carrots, potatoes, leeks, chard, melons, squashes, rocket, okra, turnips, cabbages, beetroots, radishes, sweetcorn, broccoli, cauliflowers, lettuces, several tomato varieties, aubergines and pumpkins, as well as a wide variety of herbs and dates.
Depending on the cultivar, crops take anything from 25 to 60 days from planting to first harvest. Some plants, such as broccoli, continue to produce for the duration of the season; others, such as carrots, are phased in planting to ensure a continuous supply.
The soil at the farm is prepared with fish meal and chicken manure at the start of the season, and is irrigated twice daily at 5am and 5pm with water tapped from the farm’s two wells.
To keep pests, worms and fungi at bay, Moniem uses a ratio mix of approximately 200 grams of chilli powder, 200 grams of cloves, 100 grams of bread yeast, a clove of garlic (it’s important “to use ‘live’ organic garlic – not the Chinese-produced ones which are chemical-based,” he says) and some organic honey, mixed with about one litre of water, which Moniem puts in a blender and pours out to ferment overnight. The mixture is then applied to the soil and plants during irrigation – the farm has a large tank for this purpose, where scaled-up quantities of the blend are mixed.