Welcome to the second in our series of gardening articles written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).

Sow Easy

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice
Lettuce seedlings. Photograph by Lee Stevenson

Its not to late to sow cucumbers, squashes, lettuce and all manor of vegetables for a summer harvest but time is running out if you want to start parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli, sprouts & turnips etc for a winter (October onwards) harvest. Keep the ground moist by watering with a rose headed watering can or spray to avoid disturbing the soil

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice
Cucumber last. Photograph by Lee Stevenson

I’ve just sown some more parsnips and started sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli for harvesting later in the year.

Potty about plants

If you don’t have much garden space, it’s possible to grow quite a few plants in pots or hanging baskets.

Herbs are one of the easiest edibles to grow in pots from cut & come again salad leaves, rocket (roca), coriander (I get my seeds from the spice stalls at the markets) and basil.

Growing rocket in a pot. Photo Credit: WWOOF

Carrots are also a great vegetable to grow in plastic (2 LT) bottles. Cut off the top part roughly just above the label and make four holes in the base.

Use the finest soil (any lumps and the carrot will fork or be stumpy). Sow two or three seeds and cover lightly with soil. Water lightly or spray with a trigger water gun (if you have one) until the seed has germinated. 

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice
Growing carrots in a plastic bottle. Photo Credit: judj.org

Place the top part of the bottle (minus the screw top) on top and keep moist. Once germinated carefully remove the plastic top and smallest plants (if all have germinated) leaving the best one.

In roughly three months, you should have decent size straight carrots.

If you are using several bottles, it’s worth keeping them in a container or shallow box to stop them all falling over like skittles.

You can also try growing parnips this way – remember that seeds take two to three weeks to germinate.

Pests

You don’t have to use commercial chemicals to keep the pests/weeds at bay.

A watered down vinegar solution in a spray bottle is a great way to kill weeds in pathways but be careful not to spray areas where you will be planting. Try not to leave the solution in your spray bottle  for any length of time as the vinegar is a mild acid it may attack the bottle.

If you can’t bear to squish greenfly on your roses with your hands spraying them with solution of washing up liquid and water will remove most of them.

Keep an eye out for caterpillar eggs on the underside of leaves. They are usually yellow in colour. These are best squished.

If its too late and the wriggly devils eating at your plants, I put them on my bird feeder. Cats can also be kept at bay by certain plants, curry plant is one which I have grown (I am trying to grow more of this fantastic plant from cuttings). Lavender and rosemary also help to keep cats away.

Plants cats like are catnip and honeysuckle and they will happily munch on spider plants as it they are a salad bar – if you don’t want to encourage cats in your garden, avoid these plants.

Bee Happy

Try to plant as many flowering plants (especially yellow flowers) to encourage the bees and wasps in your gardens as these are the best garden friends out there.

Photo by Steve Parsley.

As well as pollenating, wasps are the biggest pest-eaters in late summer and will only sting if attacked. I lost count of the number of bees, wasps and hornets I saved from drowning in the pool last year.

Do you have a question about gardening?

Please share your experiences with us and ask any questions you have on gardening. Gardening in a hot climate can present you with many challenges and these articles are here to help you.

If there is something you would particularly like advice on or to know about, we also want to hear from you.

Please visit and join Lee’s Facebook group for more information about gardening and to ask any questions:

An English Gardener in Çalış

Happy Growing

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