CEP 810: My Networked Learning Project – Growing an Urban Vegetable Garden

For my CEP 810 course at MSU we were asked to learn something new using only YouTube and Help Forums. At first this project had me stumped. I thought about playing the guitar, but then I remembered that I live in Dubai and buying a guitar would be quite expensive. Then I thought about learning to crochet, but my aunt told me if I knew how to knit it should be easy to pick it up. So then I started thinking about what I have tried to do over the years that I was never very good at. The first thing that popped into my mind was gardening. So now I get to learn how to grow a vegetable garden using just Youtube and online help forums. 🙂 Hooray for online learning projects!

Okay, I know what you are thinking. A vegetable garden, really? Let me explain my reasons:

  1. I live in Dubai, UAE which is in the desert. Obviously it is extremely hot and humid (also next to the ocean). Beautiful? Yes. Made for gardening? Not so much. You will see flowers next to the highway, but they aren’t even planted in the ground. They are placed in little plastic holders and are changed out almost weekly.
  2. I live in an apartment (which luckily has 3 balconies).
  3. I have an indoor cat who has destroyed any plant life that has been in the apartment before.
  4. Growing up I killed every plant I ever took care of, even my mother’s plants. It’s not that i tried to kill them, I have never really had the green thumb that the my sisters and mother have.
  5. My husband and I eat Paleo and our meals have a ton of vegetables in them everyday. The cost of buying vegetables is outrageously high and I want to cut down on our monthly grocery bill.

As I began the search for videos about gardening, I stumbled across a few that were teaching the basics of how to pot plants and what materials to use. It may seem like a no brainer but, if I have failed at it before, I might as well start from the beginning. I was also considering what soils to use and if I could use sand as part of the potting process.

Then I searched about urban gardens and how to maintain them on balconies using recycled materials as containers. I also found that some containers are not safe to grow in because the plastic can seep toxins into the plants. Apparently you have to grow the plant first and then transfer it over to the bottles after.


Lastly, and probably most importantly, I searched for how to maintain a garden in the desert as it reaches over 100 degrees starting at the end of June. As I was reading a forum that discussed another middle eastern country, and some of the replies gave me some really good ideas about location and how I need to maintain the garden.

Desert Gardening Forum

Now to gather the materials, buy some seeds and dive into this project! Wish me luck!


One thought on “CEP 810: My Networked Learning Project – Growing an Urban Vegetable Garden

  1. I really like the way this project puts a twist on “learn gardening”. It’s like “Learn Gardening – EXTREME!” Gardening in an apartment in desert conditions with limited supplies. I can’t even make a plant grow in our temperate, plant-friendly, back yard. You’ve also described a very cross-disciplinary approach: using recycled materials to construct your own planters supplying nutrition for a paleo diet. Very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

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