Cherry tomatoes These little tomatoes grow on pretty bushes with small yellow flowers. The mini varieties give a far higher yield than normal tomatoes, as well as resisting heat, and they’re also attractive plants.
Propagation: Buy good heat-resistant varieties or try collecting seeds from local supermarket buys.
Maintenance: You’ll need something to support the tomatoes as they grow upwards. Sticks or a wall trellis work well, but make sure to tie the stalks up securely.
Sweet potatoes These are one of the most nutritious veggies we know of, and in this climate they grow like weeds – they’re very easy to take care of.
Propagation: Buy sweet potatoes from the supermarket and soak in water for 24 hours, then plant outside in large containers. After two weeks, shoots will appear – cut them off when they’re about 15cm long, then plant them in other pots. The original plant will continue to make shoots.
Maintenance: Sweet potato plants thrive in plenty of shade. Add a little water to have this one growing in no time.
Cucumbers These pretty climbing plants are great for covering walls and trellises.
Propagation: Collect seeds from supermarket purchases, then plant outdoors.
Maintenance: Cucumbers will grow pretty much anywhere, although they do need sun and plenty of water. Train them up walls to avoid the fruit coming into prolonged contact with the soil, which will cause the cucumbers to go rotten.
Melons These large, leafy climbers are great for walls and fences.
Propagation: Pick a good example from the supermarket and dry the seeds, then plant into pots or garden soil, keeping the seeds 10cm apart.
Maintenance: Melons will grow pretty much anywhere. Sun will help to ripen the fruit, and make sure you give them lots of water daily.
Basil This herb is surprisingly easy to germinate and maintain – it grows readily from seed. In the absence of cold, our climate turns the normally annual plant into a small perennial shrub.
Propagation: Buy locally – the European varieties just don’t grow well in this region. Choose either the red-stemmed or white-stemmed, which can be found in all local gardening shops.
Maintenance: Basil likes plenty of water and lots of sun (even the fiery UAE sun, so don’t be shy). Use the growing tops from each branch for cooking, which will make the plant bushier and a lot more productive.